’I’m here because of these young ladies’: Athletic trainers honored for saving Longview coach’s life

RAW VIDEO: Athletic trainers honored in Austin for saving Longview coach’s life

AUSTIN, TX (KLTV) - Two Longview high school athletic trainers were honored in Austin on Monday for their role in helping save a cross-county coach’s life.

As Ken Jernigan wrapped up a practice Oct. 22, he headed up a hill near the school where his runners were. As he walked, he noticed it was getting dark, and before he knew it, he had passed out. Students raced into the training room and got trainers Deirdre Scotter and Kristin Croley, who used an defibrillator and CPR to resuscitate Jernigan until paramedics arrived.

On Monday, Jernigan stood before the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the two women he called heroes and thanked them for the life he still had.

“I am humbled because, first place, I’m here, and I am honored because these young ladies and what they did, they’re getting a little bit of the recognition that they so richly have earned," said Jernigan.

In Texas, physical education teachers, coaches, and trainers are required to attend CPR certification classes every two years. Jernigan said it’s easy to forget how important those classes are until you’re on the receiving end of life-saving measures.

“We do it, and we know how important it is, but we don’t know how important it is,” said Jernigan. “It’s amazing, until you’re put into that situation, how real it really is, and how valuable it is.”

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After Jernigan’s speech, Dierdre and Croley were both awarded with the Courage Under Pressure award, which recognized both women for their “calm and quick-thinking actions” that saved the life of their coworker.

“Until you’ve been put under fire, like Dierdre and Kristen were, you don’t know how you’ll act,” Jernigan told a room full of guests. “I think I know how I’ll act if I had to do it; I hope I’d come close to what they did. I hope I can say I did my all, I did the best I could do.”

“I promise you, had they not done everything right, I wouldn’t be here,” Jernigan added.

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