During a summer league basketball game, E.J. Galloway had barely left the court when he abruptly passed out. The 16-year-old, who appeared healthy, was having a cardiac attack.
Willie Swinney, his coach, was fully aware of what to do. He began CPR. John Knight, a dad on the other team, joined him. They kept going till 15 minutes later when the paramedics showed up.
Ollie Galloway, E.J.'s mother, said, "God had all the right people in the right place at the right time." "We are aware that God and CPR kept him alive."
E.J. does not recall what occurred on June 2, 2014. Three days later, at the hospital, he does remember coming.
"I was just hungry when I woke up," E.J. 'Said Even though his legs were a little sore, he was eager to resume playing basketball.
Doctors advised him that he wouldn't be able to play again for six months. He said, "It broke my heart."
He spent his time waiting outside. A defibrillator was inserted in his chest to aid in preventing further cardiac arrests. If necessary, the device administers an electric shock to resume a regular heartbeat.
Now 18 years old, he said, "It's just there for support." "I am allowed to play normally. It doesn't deter me."
The 6-foot-9 power forward just finished his senior year at Jackson's Provine High School.
He remarked, "It was one of my best high school seasons."
Like the heart attack he had two years ago, he has not had another one. He went into cardiac arrest that day, although doctors are unsure of the specific cause. Ollie said, "They said his heart rhythm sped up so fast that it stopped."
He has committed to playing basketball for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he intends to pursue a career in public health.
Currently, E.J. is a volunteer for the American Heart Association, where he promotes active living and medical research. Last year, he and his mother went to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health.
We work to raise awareness of what occurred to me. We're attempting to act constructively. Anything can occur in the flash of an eye and without warning. "I think you should make the most of your life," E.J. said, adding that he might eventually write a book to motivate others.
E.J. highlights how crucial it is to be familiar with CPR, particularly among his peers.
A new Mississippi law will gradually require high school students taking physical education or health classes to receive CPR training. For E.J. 's high school and other schools, the Jackson Heart Foundation and the AHA bought a CPR in Schools kit so that kids can acquire the life-saving skill.
Even though Swinney, the coach who gave CPR to E.J., had his CPR certification for a while, he never imagined he would need it. Officials from the city and the school have commended him and Knight for what they accomplished, and E.J.'s mother claimed that the city has "embraced" him.
Ollie commended the coach for never losing his cool and the other gym users for their diverse contributions.