Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute freshman offensive lineman Reuben Clarke is being credited for intervening when two train cars detached from the rest of a locomotive Wednesday night.
Clarke noticed the cars had detached shortly after the Amtrak train left Rensselaer, New York, and pulled the emergency brake.
"The car from the back of the train was like leaving us, and I saw sparks and stuff like that and a huge gust of wind," Clarke told CBS 6 News in Albany, "so I just calmed myself down, and I was like, we have to stop the train and make sure everyone was fine."
At least one passenger credited Clarke with a life-saving move.
"He saved our lives tonight," Helen Mark Crane told CNN. "Our car broke off from the rest of the train and was picking up speed. There was no Amtrak personnel in our car. Reuben calmly went into action and pulled the emergency brake at the front of the car. Thankful he was on the train with my son and I."
No one was injured in the incident, according to Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams.
New York State Police will investigate what happened, while the National Transportation Safety Board will not because there were no injuries or a derailment.
RPI, a Division III school, is 9-1 this season and has advanced to the second round of the 32-team NCAA playoffs. The Engineers will face Brockport on Saturday.
Clarke has played in five games this season.