It should have been a time for fun. A time for fans to get together in a friendly rivalry of sorts, and cheer their favorite team on to victory.
We were at the football game only because it was required of us to be there. People get hurt or sick, even at sporting events, so we were there to provide medical assistance in any way possible.
It was a beautiful, warm late-summer day, just prior to the Labor Day weekend. No clouds in the sky: just wall-to-wall, pristine skies with a beautiful sun shining down on the field, the players, the coaches, even the fans who cam to watch the game that was soon to commence.
The game started without incident. Soon people's attention was focused on the action on the field. Two teams, one wearing blue-and-white jerseys, the other, red-and-gold: the Tiptonville Tigers verses the Centerville Eagles. Both schools had a friendly rival of sorts going on; their best players were now about to settle a score on the field, in the hopes of bringing their school a taste of gridiron glory.
It was a tough game. It was hard for players to try to reach the end of the field; they kept trying, though: they were living up to their teams' names.
Suddenly, in the middle of the third quarter, it happened. A player from the Eagles was now lying on the field, not moving. Soon, teammates, coaches, even members of the opposing team surrounded the kid, begging him to get back up. Some thought he was fooling around, as a way to get attention.
No response. The kid still lay there, as if dead.
We knew something was up. We grabbed our gear, and raced to the scene. We checked the kid over for any apparent injuries or broken bones: none were to be found. He also didn't seem to be suffering from heat exhaustion or stroke: although sweat-soaked, he had no sign of fever.
That was when my buddy noticed that the kid's face and lips were blue. The kid was having trouble breathing! We got his helmet off, checked for breathing. None! The kid was without a pulse and had no sign of respiration!
The kid was clearly in trouble.
My partner quickly cut through the kid's football jersey, got the shoulder pads (and other protective gear) off, checked for a heartbeat. None. The kid apparently had suffered cardiac arrest.
George started pushing on the kid's chest while I breathed into his mouth, in the hopes of getting oxygen to his brain and lungs, to try to prevent brain damage from setting in.
We don't know how long he was down. It only had to have been for a few short minutes.
We found out from the coach that the kid's name was Cody. Cody Rhames. He was twelve years old, one of the Eagles' star quarterbacks. This was the first time something like this had happened to him: he was the perfect specimen of good health, the coach remarked.
The boy had no clue of having an underlying health problem: he was always at practice, always put his best effort in all the games he played in, and enjoyed it to the full.
While we worked on Cody, to try to revive him, the third member of our team relayed the necessary information to the nearest hospital, Centerville Medical Center. The staff on the other end told us exactly what to do in order to help Cody: give him lifesaving meds. Start IVs. Get him intubated and oxygen flowing to his brain and lungs. Get him to the hospital asap ("stat", as we say).
It wasn't long before we had Cody in the back of our ambulance. We hit the sirens, then slowly made our way out of the stadium; soon we were racing, full lights and sirens, towards Centerville Medical, praying desperately for God to bring the kid back to life, without any lasting problems.
Cody was too young to have something like this happen to him. Twelve years old. Just a child. He shouldn't have things like heart attacks; a kid his age should be running around, having fun, enjoying life!
Calls involving kids or babies are always the worst; they are the ones I seem to remember most clearly. Why should this latest incident involving a young football player be any different?
We don't know what happened after we turned Cody over to the proper medical authorities; all I know is that we all held hands and began praying for Cody to pull through. To see this kid without breath, without life, in his young body shook many of us to the core. It was one of our worst nightmares, especially since several of us knew him and his family.
Cody was a fine, upstanding young Christian who loved the Lord. He went to church every Sunday, helped out those in need whenever he could, tried to be there for family and friends. He was an all-around great kid who didn't cause any trouble for anybody.
Later, when we went to the hospital to see him, we found out that Cody was in a coma; there was no way of telling whether he would pull through without any lasting effects.
The news was bad, very bad. He suffered a ruptured aorta due to a direct hit from one of the Tiger players. It happened in a matter of seconds: one minute he was playing football, having fun; the next, he was fighting for life.
Cody still continues to fight for life as I write this. I have been lifting his family up in prayer, me and my paramedic/EMT buddies. All we can do now is continue to pray for him and hope for a divine miracle from above.
*To be continued.*