Dale County Superintendent Ben Baker has always been a firm believer in Automated External Defibrillators - AEDs.
That belief is even stronger today.
Baker confirmed to the Dothan Eagle Tuesday afternoon that 15-year-old Dale County sophomore Adaveion Jackson collapsed during an early morning practice and added he was “saved” by quick action from the Warrior coaching staff, led by head coach Don Moore, with the aid of an AED.
Jackson, according to Baker Tuesday afternoon via his parents, was in stable condition and undergoing tests after being airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. He was initially transported to Flowers Hospital in Dothan from the practice field in Midland City.
Moore said Jackson was a wide receiver and defensive back for the Warriors.
“This morning at Dale County High School at an early morning workout, we did have a student-athlete that went into cardiac arrest,” Baker said. “I want to say Don Moore and his staff saved a life this morning.
“Coach Moore and his staff are to be commended. The young man collapsed at practice and CPR was started by the coaching staff and the AED was immediately gotten, 911 was called and everybody did their job they were trained to do.
“The coach who was responsible for meeting the ambulance, the coach who was responsible for calling 911 and the coach who was responsible for getting the AED all did their job. They used the AED. The student-athlete was shocked twice by the device and the coaching staff at Dale County High School saved that boy’s life this morning.
“We are thankful and counting our blessing that the young man is stable.”
While things were stabilized as of Tuesday afternoon, Baker stressed that the player was not out of the woods.
“We are hoping for a good outcome,” Baker said. “We still need the general public to keep that family and the young man in their prayers. The young man is not out of the woods. He is still getting treatment.”
Moore, in a Dothan Eagle interview, said practice, which started at 7:05 a.m., was not even 10 minutes old when the player collapsed.
“We began with conditioning drills at 7:05 a.m. and he ran three procedure drills and he walked back and collapsed,” Moore said. “Two coaches started working on him and we called 911 at 7:14 a.m.
“The two coaches performed AED before the county sheriff and volunteer emergency took over.”
Moore said the player “was moving around” as emergency personnel attended to him and when the ambulance arrived.
Since it was still early morning, Baker said the weather conditions were mild for the practice.
“It was not very hot, not very humid,” Baker said.
Shortly after the incident, Baker said the player’s physical form, which is required by the AHSAA before an athlete can practice, was reviewed.
“His physical form has been reviewed by a physician and there were no warning signs,” Baker said, noting, “A lot of times people don’t know they have a condition until it hits you.”
The superintendent also felt having the AED device on campus was a major reason for avoiding “a tragic day.”
“We are a firm believer in AED,” Baker said. “When I got elected (superintendent) we started an AED initiative to put more AEDs on campus. There are some naysayers that say it was a waste of money, but it is worth every dime because it saved the life of a child today.
In an interesting twist, Tuesday was a professional development day for all coaches in the Dale County School System, including nearby Ariton and G.W. Long high schools, to go over such situations as the one in Midland City.
“We had it planned for professional development to talk about emergencies and do our yearly review with our doctors – Dr. (Kenneth) Brown and Dr. (Chase) Smith – and with Encore to go our protocol of things like this,” Baker said. “We had done some training over the summer.”
“This is a big deal,” Baker said. “We had a young man go into cardiac arrest and he was saved because of the management and emergency action of a coaching staff.
Moore said the sophomore player was a hard worker and was expected to see “a lot of playing time on the JV” team this season.