LIKE MOST OF THE CROWD AT CAMP Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., on Saturday, Oct. 30, Michael Brin, 19, was beside himself with joy. The University of Wisconsin Badgers had just defeated the University of Michigan for the first time in 12 years. Players were ecstatic. Fans were sky-high. But as Brin—a reserve wide receiver from Highland Park, Ill.—walked off the field and glanced toward the stands near the end zone, he felt his happiness turn to horror.
Backed by the thunderous chant “Storm the field!” 12,000 fans in the student section were rushing down the stadium steps in a human wave, surging forward, pressing against those trapped below them. At the bottom of the steps, dozens were entangled and in danger of being crushed against a four-foot-high chain-link fence. Aimee Jansen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Antigo, Wis., was near an exit tunnel when she was swept up in the mad surge.’ ” People were screaming and crying,” she says. “I started to hyperventilate.” When Brin saw Jansen pinned against the fence, he thought she was about to faint, “She said ‘Help me, I can’t breathe,’ ” says Brin. He and two teammates yanked her over the fence to safety. “Then she looked up and said ‘Number 3—thank you, thank you’,” he recalls.
Next Brin, a sophomore premed major, rushed over to two women who had passed out on the ground. “They were lifeless,” he later told a reporter. “There was no pulse, no breath.” Remembering the CPR he had learned in high school, he administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one of the women while someone else revived 21-year-old senior Sari Weinstein, who kepi fading in and out of consciousness. “I grabbed her hand and kept talking to her,” says Brin. “I knew we had to keep her conscious.”
In all, 70 people were hospitalized, most for broken bones and breathing difficulties. Both Aimee and Sari emerged unharmed but shaken. As for Brin, he found that after a brief flurry of media attention, little had changed for him. He didn’t play a single down against Michigan and wasn’t expecting to play against Ohio State on Nov. 6 in the game that could determine whether Wisconsin will go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1963. Nor did he feel much like a hero. “I just reacted and did what was normal to help people out,” he said. “I’m sure, in the same situation, they would have tried to help me.”