When faced with an emergency situation many people get nervous or scared and don’t know what to do. But that wasn’t how Bernardo Sotelo felt when he jumped into action to help his spin class instructor, who collapsed during class Tuesday night at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center.
“At the time I did not feel any type of fear,” said Sotelo. “I was determined to do whatever I could do to help this individual out.”
It was Sotelo’s first time attending the class and he said he spoke briefly with the instructor before class began. A few minutes into the workout the instructor paused to take a break but wanted to keep going. Shortly after starting again the instructor completely collapsed.
Sotelo said he observed that the instructor was not breathing, so he told someone to call 911 and then went to grab a defibrillator while another classmate began performing CPR. A shock from the defibrillator didn’t revive the instructor, so Sotelo took over performing CPR until paramedics arrived.
Sotelo is a Bank Associate at Peach State Bank & Trust in Gainesville and just last year bank staff decided to undergo training in CPR and using a defibrillator. He said the training helped him to stay calm in the situation.
“Without the training chances are highly likely that I would’ve been confused and my response would have been very much less,” said Sotelo.
As a result, Sotelo believes everyone should be trained in CPR because situations like the one he experienced can happen at any time.
“It’s absolutely vital, this individual is an instructor for a spin class so you would think there’d be a low chance of this happening, so you never know who it’s gonna happen to,” said Sotelo.
Sotelo said he went to the hospital later to check on the instructor. While there he said a doctor said if it had not been for his actions and the actions of his classmate, the instructor would likely not have lived.
Susan Williams, Assistant Vice President with the bank, said Sotelo’s story is unique to her because his first spin class happened to be on a day when someone would need his help.
“We were just all so proud of him and we’ve all been congratulating him today,” said Williams.
Zachary Brackett, Division Chief with Hall County Fire Services, confirmed that a unit responded to the call around 6:20 p.m. and transported a patient to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The instructor’s condition is unknown.