CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It didn't take long for one of the leaders of Corpus Christi's Al Kruse Tennis and Pickleball Center to learn how to perform CPR.
“It was actually pretty natural," facility manager Wes Beaullieu said. "It wasn’t that difficult to learn or do once you got the hang of it.”
He and all of his colleagues at the tennis center are now certified in CPR after the Red Cross came to their pro shop on February 25 to teach them the life-saving technique.
The training was in response to an incident that happened on the tennis courts two weeks earlier.
A man fell to the ground having a heart attack.
Luckily for him, an off-duty medical professional was taking a pickleball lesson at the time. He rushed over and performed CPR until a Corpus Christi Fire Department medical team could arrive.
That man survived and is recovering, and a local heart doctor says the more people who know CPR, the better.
“Every place where people exercise — athletic clubs, school gyms, college gyms — everyone needs to know how to do CPR," Corpus Christi Medical Center Cardiology Fellowship Program Director Dr. Thomas Alexander said.
Being a fellow tennis player, he actually knows the man who had the heart attack at the Al Kruse Tennis Center. Even though he plays at a different facility, he's encouraged by the center's efforts to keep customers safe.
And Dr. Alexander says there's another step that can be taken.
“Access to defibrillation is also key," he said. "That’s where 911 needs to be activated, and either you have AED — automatic defibrillator — in the facility used, or the ambulance will bring it."
So far, the Al Kruse Tennis Center doesn't have an AED — a device that detects what's wrong with a person's heart and can apply shocks to it in an effort to fix it.
The center's director says he's working with the city to get one.
For now though, Beaullieu is glad that he and his coworkers will be ready to at least administer CPR the next time someone suffers a heart attack there.
“That night, we were all around, and honestly it felt a little helpless," he said. "So it feels great to be able to respond or be able to be ready for that situation now."
There will be a fund-raising pickleball tournament on April 2 and a tennis tournament on April 3 at the Al Kruse Tennis Center to raise money for the medical expenses for the man who suffered the heart attack.