By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Among the special skills of professional linebackers is their ability to quickly size up the situation on the field and rapidly react to it, using their speed and brute strength.
Chicago Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman was in the Austin, Texas, airport Sunday afternoon waiting to board his flight. Freeman was on his way back to Chicago for the start of football practice for the upcoming season. So he went to the food court bought a chopped brisket sandwich.
“I’m not really supposed to be eating that,” Freeman admitted to the Chicago Tribune. “But whatever. It’s probably my last bad meal for a while. So what the heck?”
A stranger at a table nearby appeared to be enjoying a brisket sandwich, too. Suddenly the man jumped up from his seat with a frightened look on his face. “Like he had forgotten something and was about to go running for it," Freeman said. "I’m thinking, ‘Man, this is odd. Maybe one of his kids walked off and he can’t find his kid or something?’”
Freeman Uses His Strength for Heimlich when Other Rescuer Was Not Strong Enough
But a nearby woman realized that the man was choking. She tried to administer the Heimlich maneuver, but she wasn’t strong enough to be effective, according to Freeman. So the 6-foot, 236-pound Bears linebacker jumped into action.
“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman said. “You’ve got to push in and up. So I did that and he started throwing up what he was choking on. I asked him if he was all right and he shook his head like ‘No!’”
Freeman then administered a second Heimlich maneuver. “I grabbed him again and hit him again with it,” Freeman added. “And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, ‘Oh, my God! I think you just saved my life, man!’ It was crazy.”
The man introduced himself as Marcus Ryan. When Ryan's breath returned and despite some discomfort in his ribs from the linebacker's Heimlich maneuvers, Ryan thanked Freeman.
“I’ve never done the Heimlich before,” Freeman told MSN Sports. “A real good story, man. I was trying to save all my energy for training camp. And here I had to go rush up on this guy like I’m about ready to make a tackle. Whatever it takes.”
About the Author
David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. David’s 2015 book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever,” was recently published in paperback by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.