FIU outfielder/third baseman Nick Day, driving north on Arizona’s State Route 303 on July 17, had just reached the top of a hill when — to his horror — he saw a mini-van flipping in the air.
The mini-van, which was headed south, landed in the dirt-area median about 20 feet from Day, who sprinted out of his car, hoping to help.
“There was a girl screaming at me,” Day said of the chaotic scene he encountered. “She ended up breaking her right leg. Another guy had a concussion.
“I went to the passenger side, and there was a guy there who had [severed] his arm [by the biceps area].”
Day, a native of Yuma, Arizona, who had been on his way to take batting practice with his father, Vernon, has no training in emergency rescues.
“I had seen TV shows of people doing it,” Day said, “and I knew I had to stop the bleeding or this guy was going to die.”
Day said another male on the south side of the road had also stopped to help. Day asked him if he had a shirt and then used that and a tire iron he got from his car to form a rudimentary tourniquet.
“I twisted it as tight as it would go,” Day said. “The guy was screaming at me that it hurt.”
About a mile away, in the city of Goodyear, police officer Mike Miller was off duty and preparing for a trip out of town.
But when he heard the call for assistance and learned that there was a “roll-over with possible ejections,” he knew he had to act.
Miller sped to the scene only to find that Day — a young man he has known for years — had everything under control.
“It was so smooth,” Miller said, “that all I could do was offer latex gloves because of all the blood. But there is no doubt in my mind that if it hadn’t been for Nick that guy could have bled out.”
Vernon Day said he was not surprised his son stopped to help, calling Nick a “kind, loving kid” who was willing to help anyone in need.
As far as baseball is concerned, Day’s father is also not shocked by what his son did on the field last year as a junior. Nick started 49 games and hit .318, leading FIU with 10 homers and tying for the team lead with 31 RBI.
Day, who is 6-2 and 220 pounds, started playing baseball at age 4. Even then, Vernon said, his son could reach the outfield, and by age 8 Nick hit a grand slam by clearing a 220-foot fence.
At age 10, Day was coached by Officer Miller, who was also witness to Nick’s power.
“He would hit bombs like a grown man,” Miller said. “We knew he was going to hit home runs when he showed up to the game with a McDonald’s bag. That was his fuel.”
Still, Day had no Division I offers out of high school. He went to Arizona Western Junior College, crushing 14 homers as a sophomore.
That earned him one scholarship offer — from FIU — and Day grabbed it quickly.
He played last season with a torn muscle in his right hand. Now that he is healthy, Day is really looking forward to his senior year.
After his playing days are over, Day, a sports management and marketing major, would like to be a high school coach.
“I want to help kids pursue their dreams,” Day said. “I like helping people.”
Day has proven that.