Danville athlete returns to thank hospital workers who saved him

(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) - Even a cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center agreed: Caleb McGeough is a miracle. Caleb and his mother, Letitia McGeough, visited the Henry County Public Safety Summerlin Station on Aug. 4 to personally thank the first responders who came together and saved his life. On May 1, Caleb and his soccer teammates from George Washington High School in Danville were squaring off against Magna Vista at the Smith River Sports Complex. Suddenly, Caleb collapsed.

Letitia McGeough said that because May 1 was a rainy night, she had stayed home.

"I'll never forget; at 8:12 p.m., I got a phone call from (the coach) saying that Caleb had collapsed and that he had no heartbeat," she said.

As soon as Caleb collapsed, three men - Dr. Pradeep Pradhan, Dr. Joseph Campbell and Jay Crumpton - arrived on the scene and began administering CPR. All three were at the game because they had sons on Caleb's team.

"These are the moments I'll remember all my life,"Pradhan said. "I was there on the soccer field watching the game, and suddenly I see Caleb collapse. He tried to get up, walked a few steps, and fell down again. He was lying on the ground not breathing at all. We started CPR. . It was two minutes, but it felt like eternity. . I felt relief when I saw the rescue squad arrive."

Kaleb Holloway with Henry County Public Safety said that public safety officials just happened to be at a banquet two minutes down the road when they received the call.

"Everything aligned pretty well," Holloway said. "There were a few doctors on scene (who) started CPR immediately. . When we got there with (Ridgeway Volunteer Rescue Squad) . we assisted them with advanced life support. We got Caleb off the field and we actually got a pulse back en route to the hospital. At that point, everybody took a deep breath."

After Caleb was taken to Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, he was transported to Duke University Medical Center, Letitia McGeough said. Although doctors were unable to determine exactly why his heart stopped, they implanted an internal defibrillator to prevent it from happening again.

Letitia McGeough said that according to a cardiologist at Duke, Caleb is in an elite club: 98 percent of people who have experiences similar to his do not survive.

In the fall, Caleb will begin attending Old Dominion University.

"The Duke cardiologist came up to me and said, 'Ma'am, I don't use the word miracle when I talk to my patients . but what happened with your son is a miracle,'" she said. "It is a miracle that he is alive."

On Aug. 4, Letitia McGeough brought a donation to Henry County to go toward EMS services in the area. John Campbell, Caleb's teammate and son of Dr. Joseph Campbell, also brought a donation check from money that he and several of Caleb's teammates raised selling T-shirts.

"You really can't repay someone for saving your son's life, but you do want to show them how thankful you are," Letitia McGeough said. "It really was a team effort. Everybody played a small part. And with everybody together, it worked out perfectly."