Playing baseball has provided Devin Lyshon plenty of adrenaline rushes.
A third baseman who recently graduated from Bangor High School, Lyshon has been a top hitter for both the Rams and the Bangor Comrades American Legion teams.
This year alone, he hit over .400 for his high school team, then earned American Legion Zone 1 first- team all-star honors this summer after batting .442 while helping Bangor earn the No. 1 seed for this weekend’s zone tournament at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University.
But the 18-year-old Lyshon admits those rushes are nothing like he gets during another competition — one involving the tools for saving lives.
Lyshon recently won a gold medal in first aid-cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the annual SkillsUSA championships held at Kansas City, Mo.
He bested other state champions from around the nation in a competition involving their actions and reactions during several timed scenarios involving life-threatening situations. Various first aid CPR skills were put to the test, as well as the use of automatic external defibrillators.
“I was real nervous when it was time to do this,” said Lyshon. “You think about those situations in baseball, like coming up to bat with two out in the bottom of the ninth and the winning run on third. But that was nothing like this, because these are situations when you have someone’s life in your hands.”
Lyshon was introduced to the world of first aid and CPR a year ago by a friend, Tyler Nadeau, who won a gold medal last year in the high school division and repeated this year in the college division as a student at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.
Lyshon enrolled in a public safety course at the United Technologies Center in Bangor and quickly took a liking to it. A friendly, yet competitive rivalry with Nadeau accelerated his learning curve and ultimately helped both emerge as national champions with some of the highest scores in the history of the event.
“I didn’t know if I won until after it was all over,” said Lyshon, who scored 989 of a possible 1,000 points at the national competition, which also included a written test. “You really have to know your stuff, and you have to do things quickly, but I felt I had done a good job.”
Lyshon prepared for the state and national competitions with long hours of study that were not necessarily easy for him to find, given that he wakes up at 2 a.m. six days a week to deliver the Bangor Daily News to more than 100 customers and also been active in athletics.
“I’d go to bed around 9 o’clock, then wake up around 2 to do the papers,” he said. “Then I’d go to school and after school it would be hockey or baseball, then I’d come home and do homework and study for this. I studied for it every chance I could.”
That work ethic has had its rewards, not only in a high batting average on the baseball diamond, but in the discovery of a new career possibility.
Lyshon plans to pursue emergency medical technician certification, and likely will study nursing or criminal justice when he enrolls at Husson this fall.
“I’d like to do something in public safety,” said Lyshon, who also hopes to continue his baseball career in college. “Before I always wanted to work in CSI [crime scene investigation], but firefighting, EMT, I like all of it.”