Local doctor rushes field to help save a teen soccer player’s life

The Davis family: Ryan, Sarah, Matt and Stephanie (photo courtesy of Sarah Davis)

Dr. Matt Davis is a Lakewood neighbor who keeps stats for his son Ryan’s Jesuit soccer team. But he was asked to do much more Friday night at J.J. Pearce High School after Jesuit forward Christian Lerma collapsed on the field.

It was the end of the game, and the fans wondered if Lerma was wasting time. But then the referee blew his whistle to pause the game and called for the trainer. When the trainer ran toward the bench calling for the Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Davis knew he needed to step in.

Davis rushed down the stands and onto the field, closely followed by another doctor parent. As an internal medicine physician who volunteers at marathons, Davis had resuscitated others, but he never treated someone he knew so well. Lerma and his son are friends.

When Davis got to Lerma, the high school senior did not have a pulse, and his body was attempting to breath but couldn’t. The trainer attached the AED, which did an analysis and delivered a shock, and Davis began to do chest compressions. Davis, the trainer and other medical professionals took turns doing chest compressions between the machine’s administered shocks.

After what Davis estimates as six minutes of CPR and electric shocks, Lerma’s pulse returned and he began to breathe again. By the time EMS arrived, Christian was conscious and feeling better. Davis rode with Lerma in the ambulance to Medical City, where he practices, and Lerma is now Davis’ patient at the hospital.

Lerma doesn’t remember anything after he sat down on the field. Doctors are investigating what happened. Lerma does not have a history of heart issues and seems to be making a full recovery.

Davis also serves as a physician for the SMU athletic teams, but he has never had such an intimate connection to the person he was treating. “You have to not think about it,” he says. “It was definitely different knowing it was Christian, and not in a good way.”

Deflecting any attention toward himself, Davis says he just did what he was trained to do with other brave staff and volunteers. “It wasn’t just me,” he says. “Those things are always a team effort.”


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