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The Hayward Demison story goes full circle: From heart attack on field to scoring a touchdown

It happened just one week off from an year ago. Hayward Demison III was playing football for Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon. The running back scored a touchdown on a 45-yard run, went to the sideline and collapsed on the turf. He was suffering a heart attack, and had gone into cardiac arrest.

Seems Demison was walking around with a heart defect that his father called "a ticking time bomb." The adrenaline from the run, the excitement of the score, worked to make the bomb explode. His heart was stopped for two minutes before cardiac nurse Lisa Lyver got it beating again with chest compressions.

Luck and a timely reaction saved Demison

Lyer wasn't on duty anywhere, she was in the stands and came down to help. Demison was very lucky. First, because she was there, and second, because the chest compressions work. It's a lifesaver to be used when there aren't any options. The success rate when it comes to getting a stopped heart beating again is very low when CPR is the only remedy applied. Defibrillation works much better, but it has to be on site or very near by.

I served as a volunteer firefighter in a very rural district years ago, and I performed it twice. In spite of my best efforts, I was unable to save the victims.

Back full circle

Move ahead to September 2 of this year, and the first game of the season for Central Catholic. There on the field was Demison, back in uniform. He says he feels better than ever, and showed great form in what proved to be a loss for his team but a win for everyone who knows him.

His recovery went faster and better than doctors had predicted, and now he's ready to help his team make a run at a successful season. He says his dream is to play for Boise State, and the way the senior is starting off his year, he just might be on the blue turf next year.

In the losing effort, Demison made a sweet reception for a touchdown that was nominated for Play of the Week on KPTV 12, a Portland television station. Those of us who love the Friday night action of high school football all have our favorite teams, but we can all root for Hayward Demison.

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Updated Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011