By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Central High School student athlete is thanking his coaches for saving his life after he collapsed during basketball practice.
Hunter Helton headed to Vanderbilt Medical Center Tuesday after being treated at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. His parents say they're eternally grateful their son is alive.
"All I remember is I was running and then like a heartburn in my chest and then I don't remember anything after that," explained Hunter.
Central High coach John Higgins and others performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator, saving his life.
"Several hours after this happened, the child was sitting up, talking. He didn't remember what happened, but he had already asked for food and was acting completely normal," said Marianne Jennings of East Tennessee Children's Hospital and Project ADAM. "Had these coaches not acted so quickly, we would have had a different outcome."
Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam's Memory) provides defibrillators and educational programs for schools.
Hunter's parents say they were overwhelmed when they got the news of their son's heart attack.
"Hunter left for school yesterday morning just like a normal kid, you know. And to get that call about 6 o'clock that he's in cardiac arrest, you know, disturbing," said Hunter's father Ronnie Helton.
At Vanderbilt Medical Center, Hunter will undergo more tests, to find out why he went into cardiac arrest.
"It could have been anybody's child and it could have been at any school and them not have one and so Hunter wouldn't be here right now. He's going to Vanderbilt and the Lord's going to finish whatever he's got to do at Vanderbilt and I trust Him that he is and stuff," added Ronnie Helton.
Hunter didn't say much in an interview Monday, but what he said was to the point.
"I'd just like to thank all the basketball players that were there and all the coaches and medical staff," Hunter said.
Hunter isn't the only athlete in his family. His cousin is major league baseball star Todd Helton, who plays for the Colorado Rockies.