Vinterrious Hunt, a sixth grader at Kosciusko Junior High School, began his day as usual in October 2015. “It was a regular day. I ate breakfast and went to school. I went through first and second periods.” As he ran down the football field to catch a ball during PE, however, his life hung in the balance.
“I caught a ball and that’s all I remember.”
Diagnosed with asthma when he was two months old, Vinterrious and his mother more than knew about his condition and how to manage it. When he collapsed unresponsive on the field due to a severe asthma attack, his mother received a call. “I got a call from the school and they said Vinterrious was down. I thought maybe he got too hot or fell down, I didn’t expect to see him unresponsive.”
His coaches began administering CPR immediately while on the phone with 911. “The fire department and ambulance came in. They used the paddles and shocked him three times because he still wasn’t breathing,” said Jackie McElwain, principal at the school. “I’ve been in education for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this.”
As Jackie struggled to find the right words for Vinterrious’ mother, she was stunned by her response. “She said to me ‘he’s only on loan to me from God.’”
Vinterrious would eventually make a full recovery, but his experience rippled through the community and school. “We needed more staff trained on CPR, and we didn’t have an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine,” said Jackie. Through a chance meeting with a Baptist Attala team member in Hobby Lobby, the hospital and school connected.
In March 2017, Baptist Attala providers, nurses and staff, along with Baptist physical therapists, teamed up to provide free physicals to Kosciusko Junior High School’s sixth grade class. The screenings included blood pressure, height and weight, vision, orthopedic and flexibility, and a general medical exam. The physicals were offered not only to student athletes, but to all sixth graders interested in participating, with the goal being to screen and detect any hidden health issues.
Through Carry the Mission, Baptist Medical Center’s employee giving program, the team purchased an AED for the school to respond to life-threatening events quicker.
“Carry the Mission has a three-fold focus to support organizations that are local, faith-based and improve the community health status. So, supporting the school with an AED was important in case an incident like this happened again,” said Ken Causey, Carry the Mission representative.
During a May ceremony, Carry the Mission presented the school with the new AED. And gratefully present were Vinterrious, his mother and grandmother.