A pediatric nurse said Friday she was in the right place at the right time to revive a 14-year-old girl who collapsed while dancing in the upper deck during a Kansas City Royals game.
Sam Sapenaro, 26, was working her second job as a member of Kauffman Stadium’s K-Crew on Thursday night when a nearby fan yelled for help. Sapenaro said she rushed over and found the girl unresponsive and with no pulse.
Sapenaro said she began performing CPR with help from a man who was with the girl. The man also turned out to be a nurse. The girl was resuscitated, but stadium medical personnel had to revive her a second time after her pulse faded again.
“We were on her in the first 15-20 seconds of her going down,” she said. “Timing is everything when something like this happens.”
A spokeswoman for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., said she could not provide a name or condition for the girl, citing privacy laws.
After paramedics arrived, Sapenaro helped move the girl to an open area and spoke on the phone with the girl’s mother to explain what happened and get a medical history. She also tried to calm down people who attended the game with her.
Sapenaro returned to work on the K-Crew after the girl was taken to the hospital. A lot of fans came up to thank her for her quick response.
“It’s hard for me to accept that compliment just because I am a nurse and I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do,” Sapenaro said. “The outpouring of love has been incredible from the Royals organization and the Royals fans.”
Sapenaro, who lives in Roeland Park, Kan., and works the overnight shift at Children’s Mercy, said she has been on the K-Crew for four years. K-Crew members run in-game promotions and roam the stadium trying to fire up fans.
She said sometimes she’ll help provide first aid to fans who are hit by foul balls, but her usual role is to help keep the fans entertained.
It was early in the game Thursday when the 14-year-old girl, who had appeared on the stadium video screen performing for “dance-cam,” collapsed in the first row of the upper deck on the first-base side. Sapenaro said she’s helped revive patients in hospitals, but never before at the stadium.
“It’s definitely a different situation when you’re out in the field not expecting it, when you’re in a different job role, and then you have to switch back into nurse mode,” she said.