Memphis yeshiva runner wins praise for aiding competitor during race


(JTA) — A student at Cooper Yeshiva High in Memphis, Tenn., is receiving national media attention for administering first aid to a competitor during a cross country race.

Seth Goldstein, a 17-year-old senior, was halfway through the course at an invitational meet earlier this month when he saw a runner from Germantown High collapse from a heat-induced seizure.

"He had bitten his tongue and was bleeding pretty bad," Goldstein, who had first aid training as a lifeguard, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "I feared he was going to choke on his blood. I rolled him on his side so he wouldn’t asphyxiate."

Goldstein administered first aid, assuring the runner that he’d be all right until paramedics arrived on the scene. 

"Honestly, I was in shock," Jessica Chandler, a parent of another Germantown runner told the Commercial Appeal. "But this guy was taking complete control. He was like, ‘You — call 911. You — go get some ice.’ He turned him on his side. I thought he was a parent or an EMT."

The story spread rapidly online amid the High Holidays season after being reported by the Commercial Appeal on Sept. 23 and later the Huffington Post.

Chandler in an email to Cooper Yeshiva’s principal the day after the race praised Goldstein’s character.

Goldstein asked the paramedics if he could finish the race.

"The EMTs looked at me kind of funny," Goldstein recounted. "They’re like, ‘You’re racing? Well, sure, go ahead. I guess you can finish the race.’ "

Germantown won the race, while Cooper placed 11th in the 16-team boys’ field. Goldstein finished in a time upwards of 32 minutes — long enough that the rest of his team was wondering where he was, according to the Commercial Appeal.

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