St. Luke’s Care Extends to Opposing Team
Mariangelie Balaguer is the St. Luke’s University Hospital Network certified athletic trainer assigned to the Lehigh Valley United soccer club, but when it comes to player safety, she works both sides of the pitch.
This spring, Mariangelie was working the sidelines of a 2005 LVU boys Developmental Academy game against Pa. Classics from Lancaster when a collision occurred on the field. Hunter Evans, a player for the Pa. Classics, took a shot to what appeared to be the lower back on a challenge for the ball.
“It was a hard hit,” Mariangelie remembered. “He went down, got up and tried to keep playing, but he wasn’t able to and just kneeled.”
Mariangelie escorted him to the sideline, and as she began her evaluation, he passed out.
“She prevented him from falling and helped him down,” LVU coach Andy Adlard said. “I rushed over to help him down as well, and laid him on his back. I made sure his head was on my knees and kept talking to him to keep him awake. I stayed for maybe four or five minutes until his parents got there and took over.”
Mariangelie and Andy also got blankets to keep Hunter warm during that cold March day. After a discussion with the parents about the best course of action, an ambulance was summoned to take Hunter directly to the emergency room.
“He did go unconscious twice, and his pulse was weak,” Mariangelie said. “My concern was he was hit over the kidney and the pain was a specific pattern that indicated potential internal organ damage or bleeding, so we decided to activate EMS.”
Rebecca Evans, Hunter’s mom, said the examination at the St. Luke’s emergency room, which included an ultrasound, EKG and urine sample, showed no internal damage. Doctors felt the kidney could be bruised. The family took Hunter home that evening and followed up in Lancaster, where he underwent an MRI which revealed no damage as well.
“The doctors said a bruise doesn’t always show up,” Rebecca Evans said.
Still, she was thrilled with the care and compassion Mariangelie showed, and not just the day of the incident.
“She was wonderful,” Rebecca said of Mariangelie. “She was thorough and probably overly cautious. She called me at the hospital, and followed up after her job was done. She really went above and beyond, in my opinion. She texted me the next day and a week later. She was really concerned about how he was doing. She was really invested in him. She was the trainer for the other team, and was really invested in our team as well and took Hunter’s care seriously.”
That’s the kind of care LVU players have come to expect from the St. Luke’s staff.
“Going to different Development Academy games, we don’t always get a trainer as diligent with the away team,” Coach Adlard said. Mariangelie does a great job making sure both teams are taken care of. She always talks to the other team’s coach to see if their players need anything. She is knowledgeable and passionate about what she does.”