Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Adult players prepared to help

Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news during the past week.

Thumbs up: Adult hockey players in Altoona received a reality check last month when a player stopped breathing on the ice.

Fortunately, one of the teams playing was the Mighty Docs, with Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire neurologist Dr. Donn Dexter on the squad. Dexter and others used an automatic external defibrillator and performed CPR on the man, who survived and gave a “thumbs up” as he left the arena. Now several players are taking a CPR class so they can be prepared if another incident happens.

As our population ages — one CPR class member noted that it is an adult hockey league with older players — anyone could be called upon at any time to act in an emergency. If the situation ever confronts you, will you be ready?  

• • •

Thumbs down: Coaches shouldn’t have to use their bodies to shield teens from a maniac’s bullets. Teachers shouldn’t have to barricade students in a classroom closet so they can live another day of their young lives. These are crazy times we live in.

With every mass shooting — especially those at schools like this week’s tragedy in Florida — we wonder when it will all end. We shouldn’t have to worry about whether our children are going to be safe when they go off to school in the morning. School is a place of learning where young people can discover their interests and explore career paths. It’s a safe place, especially for those students with less-than-desirable home lives. It’s an opportunity to leave their troubles behind, be comfortable with their peers and learn.

We can’t let these school shootings change us or our education. But students can do their part and keep a watchful eye. As we’ve seen in the Florida tragedy, there may be signs. If something doesn’t seem right, if you see something on social media, tell a parent, teacher, principal or school police officer. Don’t shrug your shoulders and think it’s nothing. We’ve seen threats in Eau Claire, Menomonie and most recently Stanley-Boyd. The threats are taken seriously. As we have seen, they have to be.  

• • •

Thumbs up: Ben Loomis’ first taste of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea was sweet.

“It was a pretty amazing feeling representing your country at the top of the slide,” the Eau Claire native told Leader-Telegram reporter Ron Buckli after debuting in the Olympics on Wednesday. “But when it’s time to jump, you  just put that aside and jump.”

The 19-year-old finished a distant 41st in the Normal Hill/​10k Nordic Combined event that consists of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Loomis is competing against the best nordic skiers in the world at a young age so he wasn’t expecting to be on the podium for any Olympic medals. But it doesn’t mean Loomis was satisfied, and he will get two more chances to compete next week. It’s the stuff of big dreams.   

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