Thomas Leszkiewicz: Soccer Player / First Responder 

By Daniel Rodrigues

A nearly fatal accident gave Stinger, Thomas Leszkiewicz, a volunteer mission. Magnifying glass

A nearly fatal accident gave Stinger, Thomas Leszkiewicz, a volunteer mission.

Just over 18 months ago Thomas Leszkiewicz came within two to three minutes of losing his life when his canoe tipped in icy water in Lac Deux Montagnes.

“I remember the canoe tipping and then waking up and trying to swim to shore as a First Responder pulled me from the water,” recalls Leszkiewicz of the accident.

What the first-year Concordia Stingers men’s soccer player would later find out was due to being in the water’s frigid conditions for close to 15 minutes, his body went into a state of unconsciousness caused by severe hypothermia.

Had it not been for the quick response by the Town of Pincourt’s First Responder program and the heroic efforts of all those involved, Leszkiewicz admits he would not be alive today.

Leszkiewicz would again encounter the First Responders just a few weeks later while driving in his car.

“They stopped me at the side of the road and asked if I could donate some money,” Leszkiewicz explains. “Unfortunately I didn’t have any on me, but I wanted to give something, so I asked if I could donate my time instead.”

It has been more than a year now that Leszkiewicz has worked as a Volunteer First Responder in his hometown of Pincourt, Que.

A First Responder is much like a paramedic; they receive a transmission of all 911 calls and respond to the scene. Trained to handle any situation from minor injuries to car accidents, what differentiates the two is First Responders do not have the necessary equipment to transport patients to hospitals, instead they can only treat on scene.

First Responders are usually found in smaller towns where an ambulance may not always be close by. It is their responsibility to react quickly to emergencies to ensure little time is lost in attending to the needs of those in distress.

As a First Responder, Leszkiewicz is asked to donate 10 hours a week to being on-call, but has be given permission to work less during the semester because of his school and soccer commitments.

On the pitch, Leszkiewicz brings great speed and athleticism to the Stingers. However a knee injury prematurely ended his season after just two games. Despite the setback he still attends all practices and games when possible, trying to build on his soccer knowledge for next season.

“These are the best coaches I have ever had,” he says of head coach Lloyd Barker and his staff.

Leszkiewicz also speaks very highly of his teammates and the family-like atmosphere they possess both on and off the field. Although this year has not gone according to plan he is very optimistic for next season and believes making the playoffs is a very realistic goal for the squad.


Concordia University