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Medical crews honored for work with injured athlete

For Starr’s Mill High School JV running back Grant Aasen and his family it was a special night. The responders and medical personnel who attended to him, provided the transport to Atlanta Medical Center and rendered care at the facility two weeks ago following an injury sustained at the football game at Northgate High School were all on hand last Friday night to be honored for their efforts. The on-field ceremony was held after the coin toss and just prior to the Oct. 22 varsity game between Northgate and Starr’s Mill.

It was not determined just how Grant sustained the injury. But what is known is that he left the field during the JV game a week earlier and collapsed on the sidelines. Grant was treated at the scene by emergency medical personnel and airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center where he underwent surgery to remove an eight centimeter clot from his brain.

In what was arguably a miraculous recovery, Grant just one week later was back on the field at Northgate accompanied by the crews that quickly attended to the medical emergency. Fans in the stands responded to the announcement of their efforts, showering the group with applause during the brief ceremony that followed the coin toss.

The life flight helicopter crew from Air Life Georgia in Newnan included Donell Cartwright, Leslie Hardison and pilot Bobby Horowitz. Crews on Coweta’s emergency response vehicles included David Inman, Wendy Brewer, Jay Lundstead and Previn Blalock.

Also honored at the game was Atlanta Medical Center neurologist and Fayetteville resident Dr. Paul King. Standing next to the fence prior to the ceremony King noted that about only 1 in 25 people come back so quickly and to the extent that Grant has following such a significant injury.

“He’s lucky. It’s a testament to how people who work on the front lines can get people stabilized and transported to us,” King said, quick to give the credit to the others.

As for Grant, the 10th grader’s remarks before the coin toss were right to the point.

“It’s amazing and incredible to get all this support,” he said with a smile.

Standing nearby with a look of relief and appreciation all over their faces were Grant’s parents, Tina and Mark.

“It’s all still surreal. It happened so fast,” Tina said, citing the emotion of the past week, the overwhelming response from so many for Grant’s well-being and the work of the professionals attending to him. “God made the decision to keep him on this Earth. His injury was very serious, and to be back seven days later... People were praying, we had a prayer group at the hospital. The emergency room was packed.”

Jay Lunstead doubtless spoke for the other medical professionals as he talked with Tina after the ceremony. She had just thanked him for the efforts he and the others gave for her son.

“We just treated him like he was a family member,” Lundstead said quietly.



Many thanks to Northgate for taking the time to show appreciation for the first responders in their community.

Northgate is indeed a class act.

It's too bad Starr's Mill couldn't have done something similar. (I heard from the Northgate families that the Starr's Mill players all shaved their heads to match the injured players in support.)

Kudos to Northgate.

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