Athletic trainer, football player form friendship after ‘very scary’ moment

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UNION CO., S.C. (WSPA) – An athletic trainer for the opposing team helped save a football player’s life in a recent high school game.

7 News spoke with that athletic trainer and the athlete about the bond they’ve since formed.

“All I could hear were just prayers out loud. ‘Please, God, wake him up. Come on, Bryan, you’ve got this.’ People on their knees, looking up, praying,” Shanna Ramsey said.

It was an unusually quiet stadium after Union County High School’s JV football team scored a touchdown in their first game of the season against Woodruff High School.

That’s because one of the visiting team’s players–16-year-old Bryan Waddell–was on the ground.

“I was playing linebacker and I was running to a play. I took two steps and just fell over. Then, they had to do 17 rounds of CPR and two AEDs.” Waddell said. “It was very scary.”

Union County athletic trainer Shanna Ramsey forgot which team she was on when she saw the young athlete was unconscious. She immediately reacted, alongside Woodruff trainer, Jason Currin.

“He was convulsing, which is kind of a seizing thing. We both realized then, after we made our first assessment, that we were dealing with a little more than a spinal injury. We were dealing with a cardiac issue,” Ramsey said.

It was something Ramsey says she’s never experienced before, but she didn’t let it scare her.

“‘No matter how tired you are, no matter how long this goes, he has to wake up,'” Ramsey said. “He had my hands on him, Jason’s hands, and, most importantly, he had God’s hands on him. And the whole community was there for him in that moment. So, I knew he was going to be alright. I knew he was a fighter.”

Sure enough, Ramsey helped save Waddell’s life.

“It means the world to me, to be honest. I’m very blessed,” Waddell said. “She’s the reason I’m standing here today.”

And the two have formed a friendship because of the incident.

“He’s become one of mine,” Ramsey said. “We’ve built a relationship, a friendship that I’ll forever hold close to me. A bond. I try to check on him every day. If I’m not texting him, he’s texting me.”

“I’ll always be thankful for her and I hope she always stays in my life, every step of the way,” Waddell said.

Waddell will have heart surgery at MUSC this Wednesday, and Ramsey said she plans to visit him before and after.

Waddell told 7 News he’s hopeful he’ll get to return to playing football shortly after his recovery.

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