Lucky: Volleyball Player Recovers From Heart Attack

By Randy McIlwain
|  Friday, Oct 1, 2010  |  Updated 11:49 PM CDT
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Members of the crowd saved the life of a high school athlete who collapsed on the court.

Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com

Members of the crowd saved the life of a high school athlete who collapsed on the court.

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Members of the crowd saved the life of a 14-year-old volleyball player who had a massive heart attack on the court.

Callie Banks was the picture of health until she collapsed while serving in a game Sept. 20.

"Her body was like a noodle, and then she hit the floor," Bess Banks said.

By the time her family got to her, she was in full-blown cardiac arrest.

"I just remember saying in my head, 'This is not happening to us. I can't believe this is happening to us,'" said her father, Tom Banks.

But from the moment of her collapse, everything went right. The school had a defibrillator, and a doctor, trauma nurse and paramedic in the stands helped save Callie's life.

"I feel like I owe them my life for saving her life," Bess Banks said. "I don't think I can every repay them."

In the past 10 days, Callie has had open-heart surgery and been bedridden. She said she only now understands what happened.

"I don't even remember playing," she said. "I don't remember -- like, my mom had to remind me what I wore to school that day. I don't remember anything."

Callie is now recovering at home and has a pacemaker to regulate her heartbeat.

"I'm doing a lot better, like, I feel just more refreshed than I did before," she said.

But she misses the sport she loves. The Allen freshman has played volleyball since the fourth grade, and just talking about it brings tears.

Callie said she will tell other athletes and, especially, her teammates, to appreciate their time playing.

"I love and care about them so much," she said. "It's ridiculous and just, like, to never take it for granted, because it's so much fun. I just love it."

Doctors do not know what caused Callie's heart attack. Her family has speculated that it may be something hereditary.

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