Fort Worth

Mansfield Middle School Athlete Saved by School Coaches

A Mansfield middle school athlete is alive thanks to his quick-thinking coaches.

“I was dead for five minutes," said 13-year-old Jeffrey Cotton, a star football player at Danny Jones Middle School.

The 8th grader, who said he has an enlarged heart, was outside on the school’s practice field with his classmates on January 19 when he suddenly collapsed.

“I was throwing the football, and all I remember was waking up in the hospital,” said Cotton.

“He was out on the field here, about 30, 35 yards from where I was” said Coach Shawn Alsup, who rushed to Jeffrey’s side.

“I’m like 'Jeffrey? Jeffrey?' I was tapping him on the cheek, and I mean I got nothing. I mean there was nothing there at all,” said Alsup, who immediately started CPR.

Other coaches called 911, cleared the way for the ambulance, and ran to get the school nurse along with an automated external defibrillator.

Doctors credit the coaches’ quick actions with saving Cotton’s life, and the coaches credit their training.

“It’s kind of surreal, I mean it was like there was no thinking involved, it was just do it”, said Alsup. "We were all supposed to be where we were supposed to be when we were supposed to be there.”

Cotton spent nearly a week at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, where surgeons implanted a defibrillator next to Cotton’s heart.

He returned to school on Monday, just more than a week after he collapsed, and only days after his surgery.

“I had to get a defibrillator put in my heart,” said Cotton. “If anything like that happens again, it shocks me again back to life.”

Doctors said Cotton can no longer play contact sports, so now he plans on taking up golf.

“It's just crazy how life can be gone in just an instant,” said Cotton.

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