Chris Wood, owner of Bender’s Gym in Guntersville, was labeled a hero by Dan Younghouse and Guntersville Fire and Rescue.
Wood said that on Saturday, July 6, he and his gym partner, Jordan Taylor, came into the gym for a chest workout in the morning. They were about halfway through their workout and had just finished bench press.
When Younghouse showed up at the gym, Wood greets him and continued on with his workout. That is the normal routine for Wood, to greet his customers by name. Younghouse went to the treadmill.
Wood and Taylor had moved from that area to start on the cables. Wood said that they were going through their workout when they heard a thump.
Taylor and Wood looked over to see that Younghouse had collapsed and they noticed Younghouse being pushed off the treadmill by the belt. They rushed to move him off the treadmill and flipped him onto his back.
Wood said that he got in the floor with him and attempted to talk to him. He repeated his name over and over with little to no response. Within 15 to 20 seconds, Younghouse lost consciousness.
Wood could not find a pulse anywhere and when he placed his ear to his mouth, he could not feel a breath. That prompted Wood to begin CPR.
He said about 30 seconds into CPR, Younghouse started to breath. Wood noticed signs of life. His pupils were still large. Wood stopped CPR compressions and attempted to get him to speak again. Younghouse did not respond and lost consciousness again.
Wood said that he continued with CPR and yelled for his wife, Ana Wood, to call 911. Taylor’s wife, Casey Taylor, and she had already called 911. He continued chest compressions while they waited on help to show up. He was able to get Younghouse back a few times, but decided their best case would be to continue with chest compressions and emergency breathing until help arrived.
He continued to do the chest compressions until the Guntersville fire medics showed up on scene. Casey offered to take over chest compressions if Wood needed her to. He said that it was a good thing he was already loose from his workout.
Casey and Ana waited at the door while Wood continued to do chest compressions. The gym was rather busy, so he said that they had a group forming around them.
Led by Capt. Greg Dorsett, the Guntersville Fire and Rescue arrived and ask Wood to continue chest compressions until they had their equipment set up. The fire medics used a defibrillator on Younghouse. He said that it did not take long for them to get the equipment set up and they took over.
According to the fire department, Younghouse came back around and was talking to them before being placed in ambulance.
Wood said that Younghouse was med-flighted from Guntersville High School and a couple hours later, he received a call from one of Younghouse’s sons explaining that Younghouse was alert and doing much better. The next day he received a picture showing how he looked
Younghouse is a regular member at Bender’s Gym. Wood said that Younghouse and his wife come to the gym together just about every day. He rarely travels without her, but this day, she was not there. A few months ago, Wood believes that Younghouse had open heart surgery.
Wood said that the Younghouses are regular members of the gym. He will be glad when they are able to come back. Younhouse enjoys sports and talking about restaurants. Wood loves to have conversations with him because of his knowledge in sports and the restaurant business.
“I can’t wait to get Dan back,” Wood said. “He is just a pleasure to be around and always real nice.”
One of the sons contacted Wood about Younhouse’s condition and joked about his father saying that he could not longer come back to Bender’s Gym because he caused a scene.
Wood was told that Younghouse’s doctors said he would not have survived if it were not for the CPR that he performed. Fire chief Brian Waldrop also said the chest compressions were the difference in saving Younghouse’s life.
Wood is certified in CPR and was glad that he responded the way he did. In those type incidents, you can never be too sure how you will honestly react without having a medical background, he said. When he took the class, he did not know how he would respond, but was glad to know that he reacted in a positive manner. Bender’s Gym has an AED device and he is certified as well with this machine.
“It’s a real eye opener and reminds people they need to get some training in CPR,” Waldrop said. “It was a huge step in getting this guy back in a situation that usually doesn’t end like this. My guys said Chris was very cool and collected and went right to work.”
Younghouse was expected to undergo surgery Monday to implant a defibrillator. Will Younghouse, one of Dan’s sons, said “He’s doing great! Chris is the real hero in this story.”