Springfield College alumna Janielle (Martin) Monbleau ‘05 is no stranger to saving lives as a full-time critical care nurse at Lowell General Hospital. On Jan. 14, Monbleau’s heroism caught public attention while working her part-time job as an athletic trainer for Methuen High School when she saved the life of 16-year-old hockey player, Brady Barron.
Barron, a junior forward for the Methuen Rangers, lost his glove momentarily while entangled with a Gloucester player. As the two skaters crashed to the ice at the Methuen High Skating Rink, Barron’s exposed left wrist suffered an excruciating laceration from the razor-sharp, concave edge of the steel blade on his opponent’s skate.
Play continued as the horrific instance went unnoticed—until Monbleau saw Barron laboring towards the bench, his face stricken with anguish. “Within milliseconds my brain processed: he’s hurt badly, there’s blood, it’s not on his face, and it’s not from his neck,” recalled Monbleau.
A trail of fallen blood littered the ice as Barron stumbled to the surface, shrieking, writhing in pain. Before play was even halted, the quick-thinking athletic trainer rushed onto the ice.
“As soon as I stepped on the ice, his glove moved and I saw his arm laceration and blood squirting everywhere,” Monbleau explained. Her prompt assessment showed that “the athlete was able to move his fingers some and he had most of his sensation.”
She bare-handedly applied pressure to Barron’s blood-soaked wrist with one hand while hastily digging in her bag for a glove with the other. Monbleau then used her gloved hand to apply pressure to the deepest section of the wound (in the wrist) and moved her unprotected hand to his brachial artery, which is located on the bicep—all while elevating Barron’s hand above his head.
Barron had suffered a severed artery and damaged numerous tendons and nerves. In a fashion just as rapid as the action in a hard-nosed hockey game, the teen’s life flashed before his eyes. Without Monbleau, he could have bled out in as little as two minutes.
Monbleau notes that speedy responses from EMTs, followed by paramedics, were also crucial to Barron’s survival, but there is no denying that Monbleau’s initial response was vital. Because of Monbleau’s instinctual valor, the young student-athlete was able to make it to the emergency room. Barron was able to undergo successful surgery at the reputable Boston Children’s Hospital soon after the incident, but his future as an athlete is uncertain.
Monbleau, unperturbed by the gruesome nature of the incident, remarked, “You are not allowed to be scared until after everything is done.”
Monbleau graduated from Springfield College with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in 2005, and cites the profession as her main passion. She served as Methuen High School’s Head Athletic Trainer from 2007 to 2009. She then earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UMass-Lowell, graduating in 2011.
While she remains humble about her line of duty, the spotlight has given Monbleau warranted recognition both as an athletic trainer and medical professional—recognition that people in her field often do not receive. Sometimes it takes a heart-wrenching story to be reminded of society’s unsung heroes. Often they are the ones who deserve the most credit.