Five weeks to the day of the major scare, Adaveion Jackson was moving around Dale County’s Warrior Stadium with a smile on his face Tuesday night.
Back on Aug. 6, Jackson, a 15-year-old sophomore on the Warriors’ football team, collapsed during an early morning practice, going into cardiac arrest. Dale County coaches worked feverishly on him, including shocking him with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) before he was transported to Flowers Hospital in Dothan and later to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.
A few days later, Jackson was released from UAB, allowing him to resume his life back in the Wiregrass.
“I feel better,” Jackson said Tuesday night during a special ceremony honoring those involved in helping to save him.
Birmingham-based Cardiac Solutions honored Jackson and his family along with Warrior coaches and first responders during halftime of a Dale County junior varsity game. Cardiac Solutions CEO Jon Seale and Cardiac Consultant Kelse Saban gave Jackson’s family a small portable AED and presented plaques to the coaches and first responders.
“When we have a save, it is an honor to donate a unit to that family so they can feel safe and that if it happened again, they are prepared,” Saban said. “Adaveion actually choose to donate his unit to his team. His football team will always have an AED with them at all times.”
The exact cause for Jackson’s collapse, according to Dale County head coach Don Moore, isn’t completely known yet, though it relates to his heart. Jackson, who had a pacemaker installed in his heart, is still undergoing tests to determine the cause, said Moore.
Jackson said Tuesday’s ceremony was another example to him how people have shown their love and concern for him.
“Felt good knowing that people care and sent out prayers for me,” Jackson said.
While he can’t play football because of the pacemaker, he has remained on the sidelines to support his Warrior teammates during games.
“I am grateful to be here to support the team as they go through the season,” Jackson said.
Dale County’s Moore along with five other Warrior coaches, two Dale County Sheriff’s officers, a Midland City Police officer and a member of the Dale County Fire Department were honored during the ceremony for their roles in helping save Jackson.
“I appreciate the honor, but the real award goes to the Good Lord because He was there the whole time,” Moore said. “If it wasn’t for Him, Adaveion wouldn’t be here today with us. We always appreciate that people see it, but as far as that goes, we are just happy for him and his family that he is still with us.”
Moore said to him Jackson looks just like he did before the collapse.
“He seems perfectly fine,” Moore said. “He is with us, joking around, cutting up and having a good time just like he was before anything happened so that is great to see.”
The coaches honored were Dustin Harrison, Ethan Holland, Patrick Street, Cole Deloney and Evan Ballard. Tony Watson of the Midland City Police Department, Phillip Owens with the Midland City Fire Department and Brandon Elmore and Lee Rhodes of the Dale County Sheriff Office all received Life Saver Award plaques from Cardiac Solutions honoring their role in helping save Jackson.
“We like to make sure we acknowledge everyone,” Seale said. “Who called 911? Who did the compressions? Who sat there and prayed with the family? We called the EMS? Who assisted with the EMS? Who worked with the fire department? All those people are important.”
Seale said while it was important to have an AED to help save a life, it was just as important to have a proper plan when something happens like Dale County did.
“It (heart disease) is the No. 1 death on a job site,” Seale said. “Every seven seconds someone dies of cardiac arrest. We are trying to stop that. It can be stopped if you are equipped and you have the proper program supporting the product. We have had 28 lives saved in the last three years. The product is good by all means, but it is the program that compliments the product.”
Saban added, “The AED itself didn’t save the child. It was all the coaches and first responders who had a plan of action and all gathered to be able to save him. We wanted to honor them. They are truly lifesavers.”