Letter: Portsmouth athletic trainer saved our son’s life

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Editor’s note: This April 27 letter is addressed to Terri Cortvriend, chairwoman of the Portsmouth School Committee. It will be discussed at the committee’s meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at Portsmouth Middle School.

Dear School Committee,

When we first learned that funding was provided for an athletic trainer to attend games this season, we thought what a great idea it was to help identify injuries. We never could imagine that that one decision most likely saved our son Michael’s life.

Michael is a junior at (Portsmouth High School) and plays defense on the hockey team. On March 28, during the state championship hockey game, Michael hit the boards and was injured. Michael was looked over by Jameson Powers, the athletic trainer on staff at the high school. The initial assessment was he might have hurt his ribs as this is what Michael had indicated and the area he was hurt was indicative of ribs. At the time of the injury, there was approximately five minutes left of the game. Michael went in for one shift than sat the rest of the game and then attended the medal ceremony. 

What no one realized at the time was that Michael had severed the two major arteries from the stomach to the spleen and was slowly bleeding to death.

Once Michael got to the locker room, he started to feel lightheaded. His teammates soon realized something was not quite right and had him lay on the floor. Michael asked for Jameson and his teammates found Coach (Michael) Monahan, who called Jameson in. Once Jameson took a look at Michael, he realized he needed to go to the hospital right away because he was bleeding internally.

Jameson was instrumental in making sure Michael got the care he needed. He told the paramedics that it was most likely his spleen and provided them with the details they needed. Michael was transported by Hasbro as a level-one trauma. (Assistant) Coach (Michael) Maggiacomo went with Michael and stayed with him well after we had arrived. 

If Michael had gotten on the bus, there is a high chance he would not have made it. We owe a debt we can never repay to Coach Monahan, Coach Maggiacomo, Michael’s teammates, but most of all to Jameson. Jameson’s ability to realize how serious Michael’s injury was and get the held he needed insured that he will make a full recovery.

We would like to thank you for adding the athletic trainer position for this school year. We also hope that when you are contemplating the athletic trainer’s position in the future, you remember that he was instrumental in saving the life of a student.

Alyson and Eric Adkins

Portsmouth

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.