Grayson County High School Staff Save Teen After Cardiac Arrest

INDEPENDENCE, Go. – Parents praise teachers and staff at Grayson County High School for saving their son’s life after he suffered cardiac arrest.

The student, Hayden Walters, is a senior at Grayson County High School.

” It feels good. I feel the excitement for the past year,” Hayden said.

Hayden has been running cross country since grade seven and considers himself to be in good health.

“The longest distance I ran on my own was about 7 miles, but most of the time in training we only do 4-5,” Hayden said.

On Tuesday, the unthinkable happened.

Hayden was in the school gym getting ready for cross country practice when he passed out.

“I just came out of the locker room, got changed and everything was completely normal and after that it went black,” Hayden said.

When Hayden’s father, Jeremy, learned of his son’s condition, he was terrified.

“He wasn’t responsive, they got it all back,” Jeremy said.

Hayden suffered a cardiac arrest and was airlifted to Winston Baptist Hospital, Salem, North Carolina.

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“I was delirious and confused and I didn’t know what to do,” said Danyelle Walters, Hayden’s mother.

Doctors were able to save Hayden with two surgeries to freeze a path to Hayden’s heart.

“They did a phenomenal job,” Jeremy said.

Usually, Hayden would warm up for cross country on his own, taking a lap around the school, but on Tuesday Hayden’s trainer Lucas Austin told him to wait for other teammates before warming up.

“It was God’s thing, and I said no, let’s warm up as a team today,” Austin said.

Staff at Grayson County High School sprang into action after Hayden passed out, and cross-country coach Lucas Austin performed CPR.

“As soon as I touched it, it was just freezing, its tint was just purple, and we pretty much knew it was a cardiac event,” Austin said.

Staff members called for help, including the school nurse, who was also in the vicinity.

The school nurse intervened and grabbed the defibrillator.

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“I feel blessed that I was able to help her, it was the end of school,” said Crystal Hawks, the school nurse.

As Hayden waits to return to class, he is grateful that they saved his life.

“Everyone that came in there knew exactly what to do, they were absolutely amazing,” Hayden said.

Hayden is expected to return to class in about a month. He hopes to continue racing cross-country and he wants to attend Virginia Tech or Radford for college after finishing his senior year.

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