A New Jersey fire chief and pre-K recreational soccer team coach helped save a 4-year-old boy who collapsed on the floor during practice Wednesday.
Coach Chris Ulshoefer, who is the fire chief in Bergen County's Cresskill, was at the opposite end of the gym at Bryan Elementary School when the boy fell.
He heard commotion and saw the boy's mother run, screaming, toward him.
"She was screaming for someone to dial 911," Ulshoefer said.
He said he ran over to find the little boy prone on the hardwood floor, unconscious.
"His face was gray; his lips were turning blue," Ulshoefer said. "I put him up on the stage and started CPR."
Ulshoefer, whose two daughters play on the team, said that he revived the boy after a few breaths, but the child was still unable to speak or move. An ambulance took him to a hospital, where he was found to be OK. He was home by Thursday.
Cresskill School Superintendent Michael Burke told The Record the boy's parents said he had a preexisting health conditions and that body contact precipitated his collapse. Burke also told the paper doctors examined the child and said he had not been in life-threatening danger.
Meanwhile, Ulshoefer is being hailed a hero -- though he doesn't consider himself one.
"I was just doing what I was trained to do," the fire chief said.
Ulshoefer was the only coach in the gym that night who had CPR training; the second one did not. It's not mandatory that volunteer coaches have CPR training, but Ulshoefer said he has spoken to township officials about making it a requirement.
"I'm just glad it turned out the way it did," Ulshoefer said. "The mother told me that as soon as I picked him up and told her he was going to be all right, she felt her panic ease. Funny, because I don"t even remember saying that."