Student who died during baseball training, and later revived, speaks from his heart

By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email
By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email

"I don't remember anything about that day," Ben Highland explained while hitting golf balls on a course. He was describing last February 6th, the day he died and was brought back to life.

"He was conditioning with Lafayette's baseball team," his mother, Carey Highland, said.

"Well, my friends who were there thought I just fell down or something," Ben said after another swing.

Lafayette's Athletic Trainer, Jenni Williams, described her role in that day. "Running out there, it's your worst fears as a trainer manifested."

Carey Highland continued, "His friend ran out to the car and told me he had passed out--he said they are performing CPR."

Jenni Williams chimed in, "Not having a pulse, not breathing."

Ben Highland said matter-of-factly, "I had cardiac arrest."

Ben was in intensive care at UK hospital for 12 days.

Today, he's in full-swing.

His pacemaker suits him to a tee. The tiny device sits above his left clavicle and prevents another heart attack. Since his stay in intensive care last February, The 15-year-old has actually faced few changes.

"I play golf now, instead of baseball."

"We still don't know why he had a cardiac arrest. I think it's as hard for me as it is for the family, Ben's doctor, Anna Kamp said

Dr. Kamp says Ben's recovery is nothing short of miraculous. After clinically dying on the field and spending days in a coma, she says there's one reason Ben is back to normal.

"The reason he's alive is that he had very good chest compression," Kamp said.

"i realize that in doing CPR, that was a big part of it. But I'm not going to take all the credit," Williams said.

Williams says coaches and staff members enacted the emergency plan, Calling 911 and getting Ben to the hospital. She also used an automatic defibrillator.

Ben laughingly said "A lot of people ask me about it and if I saw the light. I don't think I did."

But Ben says he hopes others will. He and his mom regularly visit other kids in the hospital who've suffered cardiac arrest and now he hopes to inspire others to have AED's readily available.

" I'd like them in every school, every park."

Williams continued, "He can show--yes, I went through this horrible thing, but I can still do very good things with my life. They might not be what I thought they'd be, but still great things."

Highland's his new field of dreams includes life-saving training, saying that even his peers should cover their bases.

"They'd better know CPR."


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