Local High School Athletic Trainer Saves Man's Life

A local high school trainer saved the life on an 81-year old man, who collapsed during a basketball game last week from a heart attack.

Robbie Bowers is not only Rancho Bernardo High School’s Head Athletic trainer, he also teaches in the Athletic training program at San Diego State University.

In an interview with NBC 7 on Friday, he said his number one lesson–have an emergency action plan–paid off last week.

Bowers has a written and frequently rehearses a cardiac emergency action plan. That plan and his skills were put to the test at the Rancho Bernardo and Westview varsity basketball game last Friday night.

“It kind of validates what I spent 30 years being worried about,” Bowers said.

With four minutes left in the game, 81-year-old Bill Parkhurst suffered a heart attack.

A video appears to show Bowers jumping into action. He immediately began chest compressions, while his intern had the defibrillator at the ready.

Parkhurst is currently recovering from surgery.

“Once my sternum thing goes away I’ll be eternally grateful,” Parkhurst told NBC 7.

He said he knows just how lucky he is to survive and is struggling with how to say thank you.

It’s not just like an email or a something like that as far as I’m concerned. It’s a miracle,” Parkhurst said.

Parkhurst told NBC 7 that he never misses a Westview High basketball game. He is the grandfather of the team’s coach, Kyle Smith. 

“I’m worse than the coaches and the parents and everything else and there is no reason to be that way,” Parkhurst said.

Meanwhile, Bowers said he is proud of his team.

“Everybody in the moment did everything they needed to do,” he said.

Parkhurst added that he can’t wait to get back to the game.

“I’m not sure I will be back this year but God willing, I will be back next year,” Parkhurst said.

Bowers’ cardiac emergency action plan is rehearsed regularly with coaches and staffers.

He said just two hours before last Friday night’s game, for no particular reason, he had reviewed the plan with his team.