High school athlete played with collapsed lung, didn't know - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

High school athlete played with collapsed lung, didn't know


Teamwork takes on a whole new meaning for one Heartland high school basketball player.

Preston Tilley said the entire community helped him get through a tough time.

He said it was a regular day on the court until he started feeling pains he thought, at first, were normal.

"I usually have chest pains and I was just going to play through it," he said.

Tilley plays for the Richland High school basketball team. He said while the team was playing Kelly High School, he asked to be taken out the game a few times because he couldn't breathe.

"When I came out I started feeling a little bit better," Tilley said. "So I went back in during the third quarter, but after I realized I couldn't breathe I went back over to coach and told him pull me out."

First responders gave Tilley medical attention and told him he was probably suffering from a chest cold.

The next day, Tilley went to a family doctor where they performed an in-depth test.

Doctors informed him that 75 percent of his right lung had collapsed; and he was immediately taken to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

Tilley only had one question.

"I asked about if I would be able to play basketball and they told me that I would be out this season, and that's when it got pretty sad for me," Tilley said.

Tilley went through two surgeries to save his lung.

Students and teachers from Richland High School held a prayer group for him on Friday morning, Dec. 4, praying for a speedy recovery.

He said the support from his school and family is keeping him in good spirits during this tough time.

"The support and the connection between my school and friends is really pushing me to get better, and maybe possibly get back on the court before the seasons up," he said.

Tilley said doctors contribute him being able to survive with one lung for so long to great basketball conditioning.

To help the family with medical bills, you can visit their GoFundMe page here.

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