A coach at a middle school football game Saturday is being hailed a hero after he performed lifesaving CPR on an eighth-grader who stopped breathing after a violent collision.
"It was a facemask to facemask hit and he knew he was hurting because he told me 'head injury' right away," said Hernando Middle School Assistant Coach Eric Palomares, whose previous training as an EMT helped save the student's life.
The student was injured on the field behind Sun Ridge Middle in East El Paso, just off North Zaragoza and Sun Country.
"(After the hit), he couldn't answer certain questions and his body was just shutting down," Palomares said, "He stopped responding to my questions. I assessed him and didn't feel a pulse at that moment."
Palomares said the student stopped breathing and he immediately performed CPR. "Fortunately, I got a quick response from the heart, got a pulse back immediately, we just kept him there breathing for him until the paramedics arrived so he could go to the hospital," the coach said.
"I was blessed I had that opportunity and I had that background to be able to do that for him and for all the students," Palomares said, "We need people like that to be able to work in emergency situations like that."
The Hernando player was released from the hospital late Sunday. Palomares told ABC-7 the student was diagnosed with a concussion.
"All the other tests came out great. (His mother) was there at the scene and she saw her son lifeless and then two hours later at the hospital he's talking. He couldn't remember anything, unfortunately, but he's alive and the parents are very grateful for that."
Palomares said every coach is required to be CPR certified. Socorro ISD would not release the player's name due to privacy concerns. Palomares said the student won't play again this season as a precaution.