Joey Lopez doesn’t think of himself as a hero. Others might think differently.
Lopez is one of the corps of athletic trainers keep watch over student-athletes during APAC and ICSHL games as well as the Flyers Cup tournament.
During games, Lope and his colleagues are constantly on the alert.
“We’re watching the game just like the fans are,” he said.” A lot of people do this because not only because they love athletic, but some of them love the sport itself.”
Lopez is particularly alert when a player is down on the ice.
“If they’re down long enough, that alerts us,” he said. “We usually give them a little bit of time to be down because it might be something minor, but if it’s something for a little bit longer time than we allow, depending on how long the athletic trainer waits, which isn’t long, that’s when our primary concerns about (the player) being injured come in and then we head out to the ice.”
Lopez, who has worked as an athletic trainer since 2017, was on duty at Ice Line on the evening of December 22 when a Father Judge player was cut by a skate blade in the second period of a game against Cardinal O’Hara.
Lopez used a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. He told Hockey Happenings that his personal and professional instincts kicked in.
“I’d never had to use a tourniquet on somebody,” he said, “but it literally just one of those things where everything else in the world does not matter.
“It just turns into tunnel vision and knowing what I know what would I do for my kid if I had one, and treating them as your own, because essentially you can look at them as your kids because they’re under your care.”
Lopez notes that when he’s dealing with a potentially serious situation, it’s important to keep his own emotions in check.
“I have to make sure everybody else is calm,” he said. “If the kid isn’t calm, you can always make the situation worse.”
Lopez praised the coaching staffs of the two teams for their assistance on stabilizing the situation.
“The coaches called 911,” he said. “They helped out they were great. everybody was a team. It just made everything easier.”
The day after the Father Judge-Cardinal O’Hara game, the following tweet was posted on the Father Judge Twitter page.
Last night’s player of the game was @ICSHL_hockey Athletic Trainer Joey Lopez. Joey stepped into a very serious injury situation, took control, handled the situation like a pro, directed others, & stopped a bad situation from becoming worse. Thanks Joey! #professional #hero.