Alumni Spotlight: Courtney Alexander
When Courtney Reid met Nick Alexander while both were student-athletes at Michigan, the last thing on her mind was probably "Someday, this man will save my life." As a 4-year field hockey athlete, Courtney endured intense training sessions and competitions under Coach Marcia Pankratz, emerging as a first-team All American.
She and Nick hit it off immediately - he was a pitcher on Coach Geoff Zahn's baseball team, who matriculated from Alpena intent on a medical career, drawn by the University's world-class facilities and prestigious medical school. As often happens, Nick found himself in the School of Kinesiology, which fed his curiosity about the body while still allowing him to train, compete and serve as captain of the baseball team during his senior year. His academic program required that he study physiology, kinesiology, CPR, first aid, and other health-related, life-saving practices. Nick and Courtney married after graduation, moved into careers, and began raising their family.
Fortunately, Nick was there two years ago on February 3, 2013 when Courtney went into sudden cardiac arrest. He was able to perform CPR until the AED arrived minutes later. Courtney feels like it was her destiny to meet Nick, and that he is truly her lifesaver. She also credits the level of physical fitness gained by her status as a collegiate athlete for contributing to her amazing recovery.
February marks American Heart Month, with the National Wear Red Day for Women's Heart Health falling on February 6 of this year. It's a fitting time to remind ourselves that heart disease can strike anyone, any time. These days, Courtney is using all her available time to raise awareness of heart disease in women and raises funds to provide AED's in communities. Courtney recalls that prior to her cardiac arrest, she had no knowledge of heart disease, and literally no family history. Now she sees it everywhere. She wants everyone to know that only 5% of those who suffer a cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive, and that and AED can increase those chances. She is grateful to be one of the 5%.
MGoBlue published Courtney's story in May of 2014, but the bigger story here is that the relationships we establish with teammates and other athletes in our time at Michigan not only enhance our lives, they just might end up saving us! Courtney and Nick are proof that the qualities of leaders and best that are developed in Michigan student-athletes do not disappear after graduation.