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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M student saves life at Houston Rodeo

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Community health sophomore Ryan Vu poses for a photo with a horse at the Houston Rodeo and Live Stock Show on Tuesday, March 14. 

During a medical emergency at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, one Texas A&M student used his training and experience to save a life. 

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, hosted Feb. 28 to March 19, provides attendees with a variety of live entertainment, including competitions between local athletes, horse shows and arena concerts from more than a dozen music artists. The event is supported by over 35,000 volunteers, including the Junior Rodeo Committee, which allows members to gain experience working with some of the 110 committees at the rodeo. 

Community health sophomore and Junior Rodeo Committee member Ryan Vu was shadowing the health committee on March 12 when a man alerted the group that he had witnessed an individual at the rodeo portraying the symptoms of a seizure. Vu, who has past medical training, said he was interested in locating the individual and providing assistance with the medical emergency. 

When a bystander said the individual didn’t have a pulse, Vu said he jumped into action. 

“I guess a switch flipped in my head,” Vu said. “Maybe it’s just all the training and education or hours of practice, but I immediately remember ‘Oh my god, there’s an AED inside of the clinic.’” 

As a health committee nurse began to perform CPR on the individual, Vu said he ran back to the rodeo clinic to get the AED. After the AED analyzed the individual’s heart rhythms and alerted that he needed a shock, Vu said he performed a shock to revive the pulse. Rodeo EMS then arrived to provide additional equipment followed by an on-site ambulance which took the individual to a nearby hospital where he received open-heart surgery. 

“Thankfully, he’s alive,” Vu said. “The doctor was able to perform surgery without even having to stop his heart, which is pretty amazing.”

Meeting the individual’s family was a humbling experience, Vu said, and prepared him for his future career.

“It’s an honor to have been the ones to be there for them,” Vu said. “I want to do this. I want to be a nurse and everything, I want to be an Aggie nurse.” 

It was a surreal experience and despite not knowing the individual, Vu said he wanted to help him to care for him.

“I guess this is my way of embodying the university Core Values,” Vu said. “It’s just Selfless Service, Loyalty toward fellow human beings.”

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