Bears LB wraps up chok­ing man Sec­ond thoughts

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - Com­piled by Ja­son Yates

Chicago Bears line­backer Jer­rell Free­man was hus­tling through the Austin, Texas, air­port Sun­day af­ter­noon with a de­layed flight and a hanker­ing for some bar­be­cue. So he an­gled to­ward the food court, placed his order at the Salt Lick Taco Bar and pre­pared to at­tack a chopped brisket sand­wich.

“I’m not re­ally sup­posed to be eat­ing that,” Free­man told the Chicago Tri­bune. “But what­ever. It’s prob­a­bly my last bad meal for a while. So what the heck?”

But that’s when Free­man’s Sun­day took a de­tour. He said he no­ticed a stranger at a nearby ta­ble in dis­tress. The man, de­vour­ing some brisket him­self, stood up quickly with a look of con­cern.

An older lady, rec­og­niz­ing the man was chok­ing, tried to ad­min­is­ter the Heim­lich ma­neu­ver but wasn’t force­ful enough, Free­man said. So the 6-foot, 236-pound Bears line­backer jumped into ac­tion. Heim­lich at­tempt No. 1? “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!’ “Heim­lich at­tempt No. 2? “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 chok­ing man in­tro­duced him­self as Mar­cus Ryan and in­quired about Free­man’s strength. Free­man told Ryan he was headed back to Chicago, en route to Bears train­ing camp later in the week.

The men posed to­gether for a photo, af­ter which Free­man tweeted about his un­usual air­port ex­pe­ri­ence.

“CRAZY!! Just saved my guy Mar­cus Ryan’s life by us­ing the Heim­lich ma­neu­ver in the mid­dle of the Austin air­port! WOW Mom would be proud haha,” Free­man tweeted.

“I’ve never done the Heim­lich be­fore,” Free­man said. “I don’t think I’ve had any train­ing or any­thing. My mom’s a nurse, and she had talked about it. So I just did what I heard you should do. I guess it worked.”

Ryan, Free­man said, even­tu­ally went back at his brisket.

“Crazy,” Free­man said. “Hey, I guess that was some good brisket. He wasn’t about to let that go to waste. You can’t get be­tween a man and his brisket. I get it.”

Re­cov­ered trea­sure

A scuba-div­ing trea­sure hunter who found an Amer­i­can Hockey League Hall of Fame ring in one of New York’s Fin­ger Lakes is re­turn­ing it to its owner.

Gary Gavurnik of Auburn, N.Y., planned to re­turn the prized ring to for­mer AHL star Dick Gam­ble on Mon­day. Gavurnik found it with a metal de­tec­tor in Canandaigua Lake over the Fourth of July week­end.

The 88-year-old Cana­di­an­born Gam­ble starred for the AHL’s Rochester Amer­i­cans and re­tired early in the 1969-1970 sea­son. He was in­ducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2007.

In­stead of wear­ing the ring, he gave it to his son, Craig, who wore it ev­ery day for seven years be­fore los­ing it in the lake. He never told his dad and or­dered a re­place­ment.

AP/MICHAEL CON­ROY

Chicago Bears line­backer Jer­rell Free­man saved Mar­cus Ryan’s life at a restau­rant at the Austin, Texas, air­port Sun­day by us­ing the Heim­lich ma­neu­ver.

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