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Canzano: Oregon State AD rescued by fellow event attendees
The scene in Fresno as Scott Barnes had a medical emergency.
Scott Barnes was a guest of honor on Saturday night at the “Top Dog” banquet on campus at Fresno State.
The Oregon State athletic director wore a dark blue suit and a pair of brown dress shoes to the event. He and his wife, Jody, stood outside the Student Union at a pre-event reception in a nearby plaza, chatting with others.
One attendee who spoke with Barnes at the reception told me: “He looked great. He’s a towering guy and looked like he was in good shape. There was no indication he wasn’t feeling well.”
Twenty minutes later, Barnes wasn’t well at all.
The 60-year-old OSU athletic director was on a stretcher, receiving CPR, and then, was transported 1.9 miles away to Saint Agnes Medical Center. He remains hospitalized in stable condition. Oregon State said on Sunday evening that Barnes is communicating with family members and showing signs of improvement.
That a hospital was so close ends up a stroke of good fortune for Barnes. That paramedics arrived within 10 minutes was also key. But it’s another honoree that onlookers and university personnel are crediting with helping revive Barnes.
“Thank God for her being there,” one attendee told me.
The 7 p.m. event had just started and 14 honorees, including Barnes, were positioned at small tables at the front of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union at Fresno State. ABC30 — a Fresno television station — was on the scene and planned to record the ceremony for a future broadcast. Another 295 ticket holders were seated, stadium-style, facing the stage.
Barnes played basketball at Fresno State for the Boyd Grant-coached teams of the 1980s. It’s where he met his wife and earned his degree. The school’s alumni association selected Barnes for a 2023 Top Dog award.
During Saturday night’s event, Barnes sat with his wife at a table positioned facing the center of the stage. The first award recipient, an innovator in farming methods named Don Cameron, was called up. Cameron had just started to speak on stage when the voice of Jody Barnes cut through the room.
She shouted: “Scott! Scott!!”
The AD was seated in his chair — still sitting up — but motionless, according to multiple witnesses. Someone shouted, “Call 911!!” Amid the confusion, the event emcee instructed a dazed crowd to vacate the room. But it was a nearby physician, also there to be honored as a fellow “Top Dog,” who stepped in and took command.
Dr. Danielle Campagne grew up 13 miles from Fresno, in a small agricultural town called Sanger. Campagne knew at a young age that she wanted to be a doctor. It surprised no one in her family when she attended Fresno State, earning her bachelor’s degree before going on to medical school at USC.
Dr. Campagne has written textbooks and hosts a podcast. She is the medical director for an ambulance company and worked for nearly two decades at Community Regional Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Currently, she serves as the interim chief of emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno.
“What an incredible circumstance,” one attendee told me, “when someone has a heart attack and an emergency physician is sitting just feet away.”
Dr. Campagne was at a table less than 10 yards from Scott Barnes on Saturday night. Also, present in the room were several of her trauma-center colleagues, there to support her. This is how Oregon State’s athletic director ended up on the floor with a team of experienced trauma-center physicians at his side when he needed them most.
Decide for yourself. I know what I think. But if you ask Dr. Campagne, she’ll tell you that she was just doing her job.
“My colleagues and I are honored to have been there to provide emergency medical care,” she said. “This is what we do as emergency-medicine physicians.”
Scott Barnes remains hospitalized. The news of his improvement on Sunday night was celebrated around the Pac-12 Conference. His athletic department staff at OSU is rooting for him and hoping for more good news this week. The rest of us are, too. Amid that, I keep thinking about that doctor and her team.
Said Dr. Campagne: “Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
The event was postponed on Saturday night. After the ambulance carrying Barnes left for the hospital, attendees stood outside, praying and processing.
“People were in tears,” said one person there. “They were shaken.”
I hope Scott Barnes gets to take that stage after his recovery and accept his award. And I hope that doctor and her team is right there with him.
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