“I was Terrified. But Then I Thought to Myself, Freaking Out Isn’t Going to Help Any Here”

In the summer of 2012, in Memphis, Tennessee, Seth Goldstein, age 17, was competing in a cross-country race, running for Cooper Yeshiva High School, a small, Orthodox Jewish school in East Memphis. A few racers were ahead of him. He said, “I was feeling good. That’s when everything happened in front of me.” One of the runners, from Germantown, fell to the ground. The other runners continued to race, but Seth stopped to help the fallen runner. Seth said, “His lips were turning blue, and his eyes were rolled back in his head. I was terrified. But then I thought to myself, freaking out isn’t going to help any here.” He told a parent to call 911, and then he looked at the fallen racer, who had blood coming from his mouth. Seth said, “He had bitten his tongue and was bleeding pretty bad. I feared he was going to choke on his blood. I rolled him on his side so he wouldn’t asphyxiate.” Jessica Chandler, a mother who knew the fallen runner, ran over. She said, “Honestly, I was in shock. But this guy was taking complete control. He was like, ‘You—call 911. You—go get some ice.’ He turned him on his side. I thought he was a parent or an EMT.” Seth is a lifeguard. He said, “It was obvious he needed help.” Ms. Chandler said, “He was awesome. He was so competent and kind. When the boy started to come out of it, he just kept saying, ‘You’re going to be OK. We’re here. We’re with you. You’re going to be OK.’” An ambulance arrived, EMTs took over, and Seth asked, “Can I finish the race?” That is when Ms. Chandler realized that he was a student runner. Seth said, “The EMTs looked at me kind of funny. They’re like, ‘You’re racing? Well, sure, go ahead. I guess you can finish the race.’” He added, “Everyone was clapping for me, like I was the chunky kid who couldn’t finish. They were all cheering and saying, ‘You can do it!’ I’m thinking, ‘C’mon, man!’” Gil Perl, the dean of the Cooper Yeshiva School, said about Seth’s heroism, “It’s an example of exactly the values we’re trying to instill in our kids. We have the concept, from the Talmud, that if you want God to have mercy on you, you have to have mercy on others.” The fallen runner had suffered a seizure because of the heat; he is fine.

For Further Information: Geoff Calkins, “Cross country runner saves life, finishes race.” Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee). Knoxnews.com (Tennessee). 23 September 2012


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