Quick Thinking Osky Student Helps Injured Athlete at Track Meet


Amidst the cheers and competition of a track and field event at East Marshall High School, the spotlight unexpectedly shifted to an Oskaloosa student-athlete, whose quick actions, training and composure left spectators in awe. As athletes assembled for their individual events, Cora Snakenberg, a track and field team member, encountered a scenario she had been trained for but hadn’t expected to encounter during a school event.

The incident occurred as Snakenberg was warming up for the shot put. “I was coming over to my camp to set my shotput down and recuperate,” she recounted. Suddenly, a collective gasp from the crowd drew her attention to a young man kneeling at the discus ring, clutching the back of his head, who had just been hit by a wayward discus. “I just hear him say, ‘Can you call 911 please? I got hit,’ and I see him move his hand, and there’s just blood dripping down his hand.”

Despite the initial shock, Snakenberg’s lifeguard training kicked in. She quickly assessed the situation; the injured student was looking around, and she saw he was trying to walk back. 

“He was conscious. He was talking a little bit. He definitely was stunned,” she said as she recalled the sunny afternoon events. “no one was really going out to help him.”

Without hesitation, she stepped forward to assist. Drawing on her lifeguarding expertise, the Osky High School student applied pressure to the wound, keeping the injured student calm and upright until help arrived. 

“I grabbed the back of his head, braced my other hand on his forehead, and just tried to apply pressure because that’s what you do. I asked for a blanket, towel, or something… and one of my teammates brought me over a towel to use.”

Reflecting on the moment, Snakenberg shared, “I was just trying to talk myself through it. You know, I just couldn’t believe that I was actually holding onto someone’s open wound.” Despite the surreal nature of the situation, she remained focused on providing aid until medical professionals arrived.

Scott Wheater, the athletic director at East Marshall High School, expressed gratitude for Snakenberg’s quick action during the medical emergency. “We appreciate her help. It helped control the blood and the bleeding,” he remarked. “It shows her character, the fact that she stepped in when something was needed, and she didn’t hesitate to help. It shows her character and her initiative to do what’s right,” 

He also shared a positive update on the injured worker’s condition, stating the student was treated and released, and he was back to school the next day.

Betsy Luck, Snakenberg’s coach at Oskaloosa High School, shared her perspective on Cora’s actions during the track meet. “It’s what we hope our youth, our student-athletes, do in a situation like this, that they find a way to help, and she definitely did that.”

Coach Luck highlighted Snakenberg’s readiness to assist others. “She’s a smart girl,  I think she always knows what to do in a situation and was able to come out and help somebody else in that moment for sure.” Snakenberg’s actions exemplified not only her quick thinking but also her capacity for leadership and compassion, qualities that contribute to her success both on and off the field.

Though reluctant to take credit for her actions, Snakenberg emphasized the importance of being a prepared leader. “I think I just had the most knowledge about this,” she stated. “But it’s nice to know that I was able to think fast, so it just makes me feel more assured. If this were to happen on the job, I’d be able to handle it appropriately.”

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