"During the last (10) years, there have been three incidents where a youngster has stopped breathing," Belinko said. "The emergency plan is in place, and it's working, thank goodness."

Even though the emergency plan is reviewed regularly, Belinko said an incident like this means his staff will review procedures even more.

Baltimore County has had discussions about increased testing of the heart as part of its annual physical for athletes, Belinko said, but often in a routine physical a doctor will note any abnormalities.

"It's amazing with these youngsters," Belinko said. "We don't know what's ticking inside of them."


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Even after the call to 911 had been made and emergency responders arrived, the distress of the fans and members of both teams did not diminish as they saw the emergency vehicles pull into the wrong entrance for access to the field at Comet Stadium.

"What happened Tuesday — going to one access area instead of another — is a common problem when we respond to an address that covers a large area," Armacost said in a Sept. 30 email.

"In this case, the call came out as a cardiac arrest at Stadium Field at Catonsville High, 421 Bloomsbury Ave.," she wrote.

"The notes to the responders, based on the 911 calls, did not indicate where on the complex the patient was, nor did they tell the responders whether the patient was an onlooker in the stands or a patient on the field. The responders said they discussed while en route which access road to take.

"The EMS supervisor saw police vehicles, lights flashing, in the upper lot and took that as a cue.

"Immediately, when they saw people waving them to the lower entrance, the EMS supervisor turned and headed to the lower entrance; the engine quickly followed"

The medic unit, Medic 4, which was re-routed from another call, showed up shortly after the engine, Armacost noted.

Armacost said the situation has brought to light the need for emergency personnel to stay in contact with school officials.

"This whole case has just showed that there is a need for continuous outreach to the school system," she said. "There is a need for outreach to the school system to provide current access routes.

"Sometimes these routes change and our personnel changes, too."

While most emergency responders are familiar with the locations in their coverage area, Armacost said responders transferred to local units may not be as familiar with some access routes.

When responding to a large location, mistakes like this are common, Armacost wrote in the email.

To avoid these errors, it is important for 911 callers to provide all the information the dispatcher requests because it provides a faster response time, Armacost wrote.

As for concerns that the medical responders failed to show up in a timely manner, Armacost said that just isn't so.

Armacost said the engine left 35 seconds after 5:08 p.m. and arrived at the school, which is less than a mile from the station at 751 Frederick Road, one second before 5:12 p.m.

She noted it likely took "another minute or so" for the emergency personnel to get to the scene after taking the wrong entrance.