Softball players help save man’s life

(KELO Photo)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls man is alive and well after a routine play on the field caused his heart to stop during the state Co-Ed Softball Tournament in Watertown this past weekend.

34-year old Jake Esser’s heart stopped after he ran into another player while trying to field a ball for D.S.I during this weekend’s tournament.

“I jumped the fence and they were already giving him CPR. So I jumped in there and started giving him CPR with a couple other people helping out,” said Josh Dougherty, a friend of Esser.

Esser was unresponsive, but when the ambulance got there, it was unable to drive directly onto the field.

“We actually ended up grabbing their equipment, holding on to it for them while they hopped the fence. We handed the equipment back over to them,” said Matt Spain, also a friend of Esser.

Now, these two friends are hoping to make a difference at future softball tournaments that they attend. Like having more resources like AEDs available and better access to the field for ambulance and paramedics.

“It was a freak accident, but there was not protocols and procedures set in place for pretty much anything. There wasn’t any AEDs at the facility.” said Dougherty.

“There’s got to be an AED on-site, in my opinion. In every public event, any kind of softball tournament, any event that’s out there that the public are involved with, children and so forth. Without that, lives could be lost, they can be lost very quickly,” said Spain.

Paramedics were able to restart Esser’s heart with an AED. He’s recovering Monday evening in a Sioux Falls hospital.

“He woke up in the middle of the night and had a bunch of breathing tubes so he couldn’t talk. So they handed him a white board and he wrote on there, “play” like he wanted to go back to the fields and play,” said Dougherty.