INDEPENDENCE, Va. – Parents are praising Grayson County High School faculty and staff for saving their son’s life after he went into cardiac arrest.
The student, Hayden Walters, is a senior at Grayson County High School.
“It feels pretty good. I feel the excitement for the senior year,” Hayden said.
Hayden has been running Cross Country since the seventh grade and considers himself healthy.
“The farthest I ran on my own was like 7 miles, but most of the time at practice we only do like 4 to 5,” Hayden said.
This Tuesday, the unthinkable happened.
Hayden was in the school gym getting ready for Cross Country practice when he passed out.
“Just got out of the locker room, changed and everything was completely normal and after that, it went dark,” Hayden said.
When Hayden’s father, Jeremy, learned of his son’s condition, he was terrified.
“He wasn’t responsive, they got everything going back,” Jeremy said.
Hayden went into cardiac arrest and was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston, Salem, North Carolina.
“I was delirious and in a fuzz and didn’t know what to do,” Danyelle Walters, Hayden’s mom said.
Doctors were able to save Hayden with two surgeries to freeze a pathway to Hayden’s heart.
“They did a phenomenal job,” Jeremy said.
Usually, Hayden would warm up for Cross Country by himself, running a lap around the school, but on Tuesday, Hayden’s coach, Lucas Austin, told him to wait for the other teammates before warming up.
“It was God’s thing, and I said no, let’s warm up as a team today,” Austin said.
The Grayson County High School Staff leaped into action after Hayden passed out, and Cross Country Coach Lucas Austin performed CPR.
“As soon as I touched him he was just ice cold, his shade was just purple, and we pretty much knew this was a cardiac event,” Austin said.
Staff members called for help, including the school nurse, who also happened to be around.
The school nurse took action and grabbed the defibrillator.
“I feel blessed that I was able to help him, it was the end of the school,” Crystal Hawks, the school nurse, said.
While Hayden is waiting to return to the classroom, he’s grateful they saved his life.
“Every single person that in 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 running cross country, and he wants to attend Virginia Tech or Radford for college after finishing his senior year.