By Mark Yanai

Contribution and EMS Week

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Celebrating EMS Week

As an active member of the Nuuanu YMCA since 2006, I’ve been playing basketball or working out in the gym every week for the past ten years. I’ve come to know many of the other members during pickup games and have had some great memories while playing at the Y, but I’ll never forget one afternoon this past February when I met a few new friends.

Phil Tan, 52, a member of the Y much longer than I have been, played basketball together many times. But on February 20th after playing a pickup game, he collapsed from what turned out to be a heart attack. He was fortunate to fall on the shoulder of David Kim, a physical therapist from Queen’s Medical Center, who had just walked in to the gym to play basketball. It was a lucky coincidence that David and I just happened to be the only ones not playing and able to respond to Phil, who quickly became unresponsive. By the time I had returned from running down to the front desk to inform them to call 911, David and Eric Lalau, an off-duty police officer, had Phil on the ground and were assessing him.

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Within a span of ten minutes, Phil was given CPR and a shock by the Y’s AED unit. He was revived by a single shock. He was transported to Queen’s where he was treated and eventually released after a full recovery. In a recent interview, Phil was quoted as being “lucky” that there was someone there that knew what to do. He’s accurate that his recovery was a result of luck, preparedness, and the contribution of a team of first responders.

Last week in a ceremony to acknowledge first responders, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell recognized the Department of Emergency Services (EMS) for National EMS Week, May 15-21.

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It was an honor to be a part of the ceremony and it really brought to light the importance of EMS employees, CPR certification, and the contribution of a team. The training that I received from Aaron Hepps, Morgan Hawley and the AED Institute two weeks prior to the incident was essential to me being prepared. I really could hear the instructors’ voices in my head about compressions and setting up the AED. It gave me confidence that Eric, an experienced police officer, was there and constantly talking to Phil. And the timing of the EMS group that arrived was amazing in that as soon as we felt a strong pulse on Phil they walked into the gym and took over.

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The contribution by each team member was essential to the success of Phil’s recovery. No one was asked to assist; each person did so because the opportunity was presented and it was the values instilled in each that led them to jump in. It is the same type of action that represents one of our core values at F&L. Our team approach to therapy is unique in that we value the different skills each member of our organization brings to the table. The rehabilitation of one patient is the responsibility of all of us and we each take pride in what we do individually and collectively.

Initially, I did not feel that my participation in providing care needed recognition. I had a small part in what was a collective effort. But as I started to look into the success rate of CPR in response to heart attacks, I began to realize that the AED was essential in this effort. Without the AED, the success rate of CPR is less than 10% in Hawaii. Yet at the same time, the compressions were required to keep Phil in a state that a shockable heart was still there. So if this experience contributes to further training by others and allows someone to step in to a similar situation, then I can see the benefit of being recognized.

I look forward to keeping in touch with my new friends and renewing my CPR certification every two years with the AED Institute.

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By Mark Yanai

2016 Hawai’i Strength Clinic

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2016 UH Coaches Strength Clinic

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In January, I was fortunate to attend the 2016 UH Strength Clinic, an annual event organized by Tommy Heffernan, who heads the Strength and Conditioning Program at the University of Hawaii. I’ve attended the last three clinics and found it to be very useful in implementing training regiments and philosophies for our Work Hardening and Performance Plus Programs.

For the past seven years, Heffernan has organized the UH Coaches Strength Clinic. He always finds excellent speakers who bring great insight into various areas of strength and conditioning for athletes. Attendees are given hands-on instructions on improving mobility, speed and quickness, and of course, strength training.

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This year’s line up was filled with renowned strength coaches including:


Ivan Lewis, Head of Strength & Conditioning for University of Southern California.

Mike Vorkapich
Mike Vorkapich, Associate Head of Strength & Conditioning for Michigan State University

Wolfgang Unsold Wolfgang Unsold, Training Coach for Your Personal Strength Institute

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Augusta Hathaway, Master Fitness Trainer for Special Operation Forces & Owner of Hathaway Fitness

Mike Blasquez
Mike Blasquez, Director of Strength & Conditioning for the University of California-Berkley

burge_tanna.jpg Tanna Burge, Director of Sports Performance for Texas A&M University

 Steve Watterson, Head of Strength & Conditioning for the Tennessee Titans

 Ed Coan, Powerlifting Coach

(click on their names and teams for more info)

All of the speakers’ experiences in the field of strength training, translated to their expert knowledge in their various sports. Most of the college coaches spoke about off season programs and the key components to making their athletes better. Those not associated with a college or team, spoke about specific training regiments and systems in dealing with sport specific training.

While each of the speakers were captivating in their own way, I was most intrigued by the way Wolfgang Unsold, the strength coach from Germany, laid out his training system and how he used stories and examples of his athletes and their success to keep the audience engaged. He spoke about his focus on pull-ups, squats, dead lifts and bench pressing and how those key movements translate to functional improvements. Maybe it was his accent or his blunt comments, but his presentation was both funny and informative. Since the clinic, his exercises for upper back weakness and elbow flexion were added to our training programs and have benefited our clients significantly.

Heffernan is a member of the International Sports Science Association, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has been designated Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. He resides in Kane‘ohe, O‘ahu and was a member of the UH football program from 1988 to 1991. Heffernan represents Hawai’i and the Polynesian culture well by always including a presenter during the clinic that speaks about this connection.

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This year, Heffernan invited Sam Kapoi from the Polynesian Voyaging Society to present “Malama Honua World Wide Voyage“. Kapoi served as the media specialist on the Hokulea and presented the journey of the ship’s ’14-’15 voyage around the world. The presentation offered breathtaking pictures of the voyage and stories about the challenges of a crewman. Kapoi spoke of both the physical and emotional transformation that occurs with being a part of such a challenge. It wasn’t lost on me the importance of the keeping in touch with our culture, restoring world-wide connections with each other, and how teaching is core to our survival. It was in a sense, a perfect example of what the weekend was about.

We were lucky to have several members of F&L attend the weekend and hope to attend every year. If you have interest in attending, please contact me at info@fukujilumpt.com or go to UH’s website.