Chicago Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman tweeted on Sunday that he saved a man’s life by using the Heimlich maneuver:
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 pic.twitter.com/yzgGw967iO
— Jerrell Freeman (@JerrellFreeman) July 23, 2017
Freeman was at the Austin Airport food court on Sunday, flying back to Chicago for the start of Bears training camp. He was preparing to eat his “last bad meal for a while” at Salt Lick Taco Bar when he noticed a stranger in distress at a table nearby.
Freeman told the Chicago Tribune:
“The man, who eventually identified himself as Marcus Ryan, looked “like he had forgotten something and was about to go running for it But then he went around the table and started to look a little frantic. I’m thinking, ‘Man, this is odd. Maybe one of his kids walked off and he cant’ find his kid or something.”
Once it became apparent that Ryan was choking, an older woman tried to administer the Heimlich, but it wasn’t doing the trick. That’s when Freeman’s football frame and Heimlich knowledge he learned from his mother — a nurse — came into play.
“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman told the newspaper. “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!’
“I grabbed him again and hit him again with it. 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.”
Freeman, who played for the Colts and Bears, also spent some time in the Canadian Football League, was on his way back to training camp for the Bears, and told the Tribune his flight to Chicago was delayed even further.
“I’ve never done the Heimlich before,” Freeman said. “A real good story, man. I was trying to save all my energy for training camp. And here I had to go rush up on this guy like I’m about ready to make a tackle. Whatever it takes.”
If Freeman’s quick thinking saved somebody’s life, then perhaps he has the magic touch needed to get the Bears back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.