Kansas City firefighter uses the Heimlich maneuver to save fan from choking at a Nationals game

A hero firefighter leaped into action and performed a Heimlich maneuver on a choking fan at a baseball game Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

As the Washington Nationals were playing the San Diego Padres in the second of a three-game series, a fan in the crowd started choking. Todd Covington, a firefighter from Kansas City, heard others crying for help and jumped over two rows of seats in Section 113 to start performing the Heimlich maneuver.

“I whispered in his ear, as you always do, ‘Are you actually choking?’ He did nod, and he was unable to move air,” Mr. Covington told WRC-TV.

After 20 seconds of delivering abdominal thrusts with arms wrapped around the waist, the unspecified object was ejected from the other fan’s windpipe.

“I just bent him over, gave him a couple back blows. A lot of times with adults, we get enthralled with what we’re doing, it’s just a quick aspiration,” Mr. Covington explained to WJFK-FM host Grant Paulsen, who was sitting nearby and witnessed the act.

After the game, the Nationals, who won 5-3, gave Mr. Covington a home run ball in recognition of his heroics.

Mr. Covington was at Nats Park because he and his son enjoy visiting the different Major League ballparks. He was apparently in Washington, however, to receive an award for another feat of his.

On June 27, 2022, Mr. Covington was a passenger on an Amtrak train heading to Chicago when the train derailed. He, along with a colleague and a Boy Scout troop among others, helped lift fellow passengers out of the train.

Mr. Covington was awarded the Ready Communities National Service Award.