Tommy Mallon brought a crowd with him on his most recent trip back to his alma mater, Santa Fe Christian High School here.
Besides his mom and some instructors, the entourage included several dozen dummies, the kind used to practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
T he mid-January visit was to launch a new program teaching student athletes life-saving skills and injury recognition, setting up a new line of defense against catastrophic injuries on high school playing fields.
Mallon's lacrosse career ended on the school's field in May 2009, his last home game as a senior. A collision with another player threw him to the ground. The injury could have left him paralyzed, even killed him, if the school's athletic trainer, Riki Kirchhoff, hadn't been there.
Kirchhoff held Mallon's head immobile and wouldn't let him move until paramedics arrived to put him in a protective brace and backboard. X-rays later showed his neck was broken in three places.