Dad of Washington Nationals' Joe Ross saves choking fan with Heimlich maneuver at Giants game

ESPN logo
Sunday, July 11, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Willie Ross,father to a pair of big league starting pitchers, made a crucial save at a ballgame in San Francisco on Saturday.

Ross, dad of veteran pitchers Joeand Tyson Ross, performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking fan during a game between the Giants and Washington Nationals, dislodging bits of a hot dog to clear the woman's airways.

Ross is a pediatrician at Stanford Hospital. He was at the park to see Washington, for whom Joe Rossplays. Tyson Ross is a right-hander with the Texas Rangers.

Willie Ross was watching the game in a lower box and wearing a red Nationals hat when he noticed the female fan choking. Relying on his training in ER medicine, Ross hustled over to check on the fan, who was unable to talk.

"I saw her having some difficulties, and I saw her companion helping her out. I was watching, making sure she was OK," Ross said. "She gestured like she was OK, and I went over just to check, and she couldn't talk. She needed some help. I don't think a lot of people knew what was going on because they were focused on the game."

Ross helped dislodge the food that was trapped in the woman's throat with three hard thrusts on her stomach and was cheered afterward by fans sitting nearby.

Police and paramedics eventually came down to check on the woman, who was able to stay for the remainder of the contest. The fan was a nurse and had recently retired.

"I've seen a lot. In the grand scheme of things, this was low on the totem pole," Ross said. "She was thankful, she was grateful, but she was also a little embarrassed because she is a nurse. She's used to giving, not receiving."

It isn't the first time Willie Ross has had to use his medical training at a ballpark. Previously, he recognized that a woman was having a stroke at a local field in the Bay Area and alerted her family to call 911.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez did not notice what happened Saturday not far from home plate but praised Willie Ross for his actions.

"Joe should be very proud of him," Martinez said.