Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saves choking man’s life with Heimlich

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On Sunday, Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman was at the Austin Airport food court when he noticed a man in distress and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him to save his life.

Freeman originally recounted the tale on his Twitter account and then gave further details to the Chicago Tribunerecalling how he saw the man, later identified as Marcus Ryan, looking “like he had forgotten something and was about to go running for it. But then he went around the table and started to look a little frantic. I’m thinking, ‘Man, this is odd. Maybe one of his kids walked off and he can’t find his kid or something.’”

But it quickly became clear that Ryan was choking. An older woman tried to administer the Heimlich maneuver, but when that wasn’t working, Freeman stepped in himself, drawing from the knowledge that his mother, a nurse, had given him.

“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman recalled. “You’ve got to push in and up. So I did that and he started throwing up what he was choking on. I asked him if he was all right and he shook his head like ‘No!’”

He continued, “I grabbed him again and hit him again with it. And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, ‘Oh my God! I think you just saved my life, man!’ It was crazy.”

“I’ve never done the Heimlich before,” Freeman said. “A real good story, man. I was trying to save all my energy for training camp. And here I had to go rush up on this guy like I’m about ready to make a tackle. Whatever it takes.”