POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Poplar Bluff High School football player is in critical condition after he collapsed during the first day of practice on Monday, August 4 around 8:30 a.m.
Family members says Caleb Morrow will be in the hospital for a few days before having a corrective surgery. Family is by his side waiting for him to wake up. He has shown signs of being responsive by squeezing their hands.
Quentin Morrow, uncle of 15-year-old Caleb Morrow, released this statement on behalf of the family.
"We really appreciate the community and church for coming out and praying. It means a lot to our family. Please continue.
This was not football related or heat related. He had an unknown heart condition. We're thankful this happened in a place where professionals could help. It was a matter of time when it was going to happen. We appreciate the quick response from the athletic trainer and coaches. They saved his life.
He'll be back to 100 percent, playing football if he chooses, with a healthy heart.
Again, we're just appreciative for the community, and God's will."
Caleb collapsed in the first 20 minutes of practice.
The 15-year-old went from the catching passes to being treated by paramedics in an ambulance.
"I did my assessment and found out he didn't have a pulse," said Heath Willis, athletic trainer for the Poplar Bluff Football Team. "This kid happened to be in the receiver group. I was watching him across the field and I saw him stumble and fall once and I knew something wasn't right then, so I started going across the field to him and before I could get to him, he stumbled and fell again."
Willis said he yelled for the coaches to call for an ambulance. One of the assistant coaches came over to help Willis perform CPR.
"I did the chest compressions and he did the breathing," said Assistant Coach Jay Dowd. "Basically, we managed that until the ambulance arrived and took over."
"Last we heard he is still in critical condition in St. Louis," said Head Football Coach Mark Barousse. "They are keeping him sedated because they are running tests to find out more."
Barousse said he went to the hospital and hasn't addressed his players yet. Right, now, he said his focus and the district's focus is on the health and well being of one of their own.
"Just need to keep this young man and his family in our thoughts and prayers," said Superintendent Chris Hon. "We are looking for a total recovery."
Hon released the following statement:
"While we hope to never have to utilize our CPR training and draw on our athletic trainer in this manner, the safety of all of our students is paramount, so we are prepared to respond appropriately should such an unfortunate incident occur. We are thankful for the reaction from our medical professional and coaches, the quick response from the ambulance, and perhaps a little help from above. We will continue to pray for the best outcome regarding our student athlete today."
The players had physicals on July 24. The coaches had CPR training on that day as well.
The coaches and staff say it was a scary situation. They responded as quickly as they could in order to help the student.