BUCKSPORT, Maine — The quick action of Bucksport’s junior varsity football coach — who is also the town’s police chief — is being credited for perhaps saving the life of one of his players.
The player, a freshman quarterback on the school’s JV football team, was sitting with several teammates at the weekly team dinner last week when something went wrong. That’s when Sean Geagan jumped into action.
“We saw a commotion and people were getting up saying, ‘Someone is choking,’” said Joel Sankey, Bucksport High School varsity football head coach. “Everyone rushed over and [Sean Geagan] was right there.”
Geagan said he thought the students were clowning around at first, until he heard someone yell that one was choking on a piece of chicken.
“I was on the other side of the room and I stood up and saw one kid bent over and another kid beating him on the back,” Geagan said. “I thought, ‘That’s not good at all.’”
In his rush to get to the student, Geagan says he does not remember much, but was told by other parents he “went over one side of the [cafeteria] table in the air and landed on my feet.”
Several nurses were also at the dinner, he said, and one was already attempting the Heimlich maneuver on the student when Geagan got to him, but was having no success in dislodging the food from the young man’s airway.
“But she pushed him toward me and, long story short, I Heimliched him three or four times before things started to clear out,” Geagan said. “I held on to him for a bit longer and told him, ‘I’ve got you.’”
Thanks to Geagan’s quick action, no ambulance or emergency responders were needed.
“By the time I was all done and he was OK, I looked up and there were at least four or five RNs who are moms of some of the kids standing around,” Geagan said. “They were all looking at me and saying, ‘It’s all good,’ and patted me on the back.”
Sankey and Geagan declined to identify the student. Bucksport High School Principal Bill Tracy said the student is grateful for Geagan’s actions, but prefers to keep his name out of any publicity.
“Coach Geagan is a phenomenal person and for him to step up like that is amazing,” Tracy said. “We are just very happy he was there.”