OMAHA, Neb. — This wasn’t the first time Dr. Jerry Poche saved a life at a sporting event.
“Done it in the past at the Superdome,” said the father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche and the operator of a family practice in Lutcher. “At a state championship game 20-something years ago.”
But the attention he and Baton Rouge firefighter Jimmy Roy received for their life-saving actions during the sixth inning of Monday’s LSU loss at the College World Series far exceeded that.
“Too much,” the 50-year-old Roy said. “Honestly I did what I hope anybody else would do. Your instincts or your reactions just take over. Just tried to help a guy who was in trouble.”
Roy, the father of LSU strength and conditioning coach Travis Roy, said he received countless calls and texts through the day leading into the second game of the best-of-three national championship series against Florida.
Poche received the most attention for what he did during a 2 p.m. press conference called due to the high level of interest in what took place. Roughly a dozen television cameras forced a semi-circle around Poche, the father of Tuesday night’s starting pitcher, as he humbly described what took place.
“It’s a little intimidating,” Poche said of the attention. “Overwhelming. But it comes with the territory.”
Similar to how Poche’s son Jared resisted attention for his LSU school record for career wins — a record that can grow to 40 with Tuesday’s game against the Gators — the proud poppa Poche denied doing anything extraordinary at TD Ameritrade Park.
“We’re not big on individual stuff,” Jerry Poche said.
Poche and Roy said it was early in the sixth inning — just before Antoine Duplantis hit a solo home run to the bullpen in right — when the mother of LSU player Cole Freeman first alerted them of a person in distress.
“I noticed the man started to go down a little bit so I went over there and grabbed him and laid him on the ground and doc checked him immediately for a pulse and to see if he was breathing and he didn’t have either one,” Roy said. “Doc started administering the chest compressions and I started doing the breaths for him. Tried to get the medics over as quick as we could. We worked on him, it seemed like forever.”
Poche said they laid the man down on the concourse behind their seating section directly behind the third-base side dugout occupied by LSU.
Roy said he had never done mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in all his years with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
“By the time the paramedics got there we had the man breathing with a pulse,” Roy said. “He left on the stretcher of course going to the hospital. And from the report we get today, he’s fine. He’s in the hospital.”
Poche also tended to a young child hit by a foul ball Saturday during an LSU win against Oregon State. “Had a big ol’ egg on his head,” Poche said. He said the boy appeared OK afterward. “Just jumped up to make sure he didn’t splatter his forehead,” Poche said.
By nightfall Tuesday, attention turned to the field where the younger Poche pitched his final game in an LSU uniform.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Jared,” Jerry Poche said. “I want Jared to get all the attention. Hopefully he’ll throw a good game.”