Bystanders credited with saving Azle football player's life.




Posted on September 21, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 21 at 7:56 PM

AZLE -- An Azle Junior High School football player is in good condition after a tackle that left him unconscious and without a pulse on the field Tuesday night.

13-year-old Alex Templeton continues to recover at the hospital, his family describes him as "doing well."

Templeton is the linebacker who fell to the ground during a Tuesday night game after a hit.

Witnesses said he was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

School officials used a defibrillator, or AED, and brought him back to life.

"It was an amazing thing that we were able to save this young man's life," said Azle Superintendent Ray Lea.

The superintendent credited two bystanders in the crowd with helping to save him.

Rita White is a school district nurse who ran onto the field to help. She is also is an AED instructor in the district.

"I've been nursing for 26 years and it's kind of automatic mode you get into, then you think about it later," White said.

She was joined by off-duty Fort Worth firefighter Mike Leatherwood, who was watching his own son in the game and sprang into action.

"I didn't know the severity until I saw his coach doing CPR," Leatherwood said. "Immediately, I jumped up and was down on the field, because I knew it was bad."

Together, they resuscitated Templeton, who was conscious and talking before being airlifted to the hospital.

Those signs brought tears to those around.

"When I saw him getting into the ambulance and breathing, it just made my heart jump out of my body," said Azle Junior High football coach Tim Spoonmore.

Templeton's family did not wish to talk about the accident, but in a statement to News 8 said:

"I want to tell everyone who was there last night that if it wasn't for them my son wouldn't be here. I appreciate everyone's support and concern, especially the nurse who saved my son's life. He is doing well."