The preparedness of Dale County football coach Don Moore and his football coaching staff and their quick action in implementing the school’s emergency action plan saved a student-athlete’s life Tuesday morning, said Dale County superintendent Ben Baker on Tuesday.

Baker said he is very thankful for all the training concerning health and safety provided by the AHSAA for its member schools and is thankful schools are required to have emergency action plans in place. He is even more thankful his football coaching staff paid attention in those professional development training sessions and had practiced an emergency action plan often. 

Baker described what took place. 

“(Tuesday) about approximately 7:15 a.m., they had just gotten started about 10 minutes earlier,” Baker said. “the team was doing some defensive drills, running some patterns, when a 15-year-old student-athlete collapsed. It was a cardiac arrest. The coaches immediately implemented their emergency action plan, each knowing their responsibilities. The coach responsible for dialing 911 did that. The coach responsible for administering CPR immediately started CPR. The coach responsible for getting the Automated External Defibrillator ran and got the AED. The coach responsible for going out to the road to meet the ambulance did that.

“The coaches continued administering CPR until the AED arrived. They then shocked the child then shocked him again. On the second shock from the AED, the child began to gasp for breath and got back in rhythm.”

He said the ambulance arrived and the paramedics took the child to Flowers Hospital in Dothan. He was later flown to UAB as a precaution and to try and figure out what happened. The student-athlete’s name had not been released late Tuesday afternoon.

“The young man is not out of the woods, so we want to keep him and his family in our prayers and definitely want to take care of their needs, but I am so proud of the coaching staff at Dale County High School,” Baker said. “The big story first and foremost is that the child is alive. But it is important to point out that the emergency action plan the AHSAA mandates and we do as a local school system works. We train and prepare and we train and prepare, but today we implemented it and because those coaches were trained and prepared, they saved the life of a child.”

He also praised the ability of the coaching staff to remain calm in the emergency situation.

“Because they didn’t panic, they were able to do what they have been trained to do,” Baker said.

Baker urges other schools across the state and nation to take note about just how vital having a plan in place, having an AED available and having the staff trained can be to the survival.

“I know that schools may not have AEDs, but they need to get them regardless of the cost. They need to find a way,” Baker said. “And they need them where they can get to them quickly. You’ve got to have one at the field house, one at the gym, one at the field, and one at the baseball stadium … regardless of the cost.”

He reiterated people need to hear this story because the coaches in Alabama and all across the nation need to understand it could happen to them at any time.

“We want to get that message out not just to celebrate that the child is OK, but to let everybody know that you better have a plan and you better be ready to execute it,” Baker said. “You can’t just a plan on paper. A plan on a shelf is useless. You’ve got to practice it.”