SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WALA) – A Spanish Fort football player is being evaluated at a Birmingham hospital after collapsing on the practice field this week. Thanks to the training and quick actions of his coaches and trainer, sophomore player Alex McKeever was able to get the quick medical attention he needed.
Monday, August 4, 2014 was the first day of fall practice for the Toro football team. It wasn’t the grueling conditions of summer conditioning and the team was just transitioning between drills when McKeever collapsed on the field.
“To have him fall the way that he fell, we immediately knew that something right there’s not right and when you get there and just following the procedures of CPR and the things you do, we knew that we had a severe situation,” said Spanish Fort Head Coach Mark Freeman.
The coaching staff at Spanish Fort and all county schools have an action plan they follow when something like this happens. Coach Freeman said they had 911 on the line within just a few seconds and everyone jumped into action.
“The coaches and Rob Milam, our trainer just… was like the good Lord said this is that emergency that we talked about and y’all had planned for,” Freeman said. “Do what you’re supposed to do and do what you’re supposed to do and I’ll take over and that’s kind of how it… kind of how it went.”
Milam, the team trainer, started CPR and had to use an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, to bring McKeever back. Other coaches helped guide the ambulance in and out of the field to get Alex to the hospital as soon as possible.
He was first taken to Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, only to be transferred to USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile and finally to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. The good news is Freeman spoke to Alex Wednesday night and he’s doing well.
“He had a good supper. He’s wanting to come to practice. He’s talking about the kids, talking about fishing and he’s already talking about the first game on that Saturday night in Montgomery,” Freeman said.
Freeman said that doctors are still trying to narrow down just what led to Alex’s collapse. He did say that he wasn’t dehydrated, it wasn’t heat related and that his doctors believe it may stem from a condition he was born with, meaning that this could have happened at any time.
The Toros open up their season on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Crampton Bowl in Montgomery against Stanhope Elmore.