First responders help save teenage boy’s life after he collapses at gym

Paramedics Boyd Hansbro and Gabriel Morales had just finished transporting a patient to the hospital on July 7, 2023, when a dispatch call came in just after 1:30 p.m. in Grand Prairie, a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The call noted that a person had collapsed at the gym.

“Ninety-nine times out of 100, it’s someone who has overexerted themselves because they’re lifting and they get up and pass out,” Boyd said. “So it doesn’t raise any alarms for us.”

The emergency was outside Boyd’s service area. But as Boyd and Gabriel, who work for the Grand Prairie Fire Department, were on the closest ambulance, they headed to the 24 Hour Fitness where the person had collapsed.

As the ambulance was en route, Boyd received updated notes from dispatch that the person was not breathing. Boyd knew immediately the situation was serious.

Left to right: Firefighter/EMTP Gabriel Morales, LT/EMTP Chris Sieg, Jaylen Floyd, Firefighter/EMTP Boyd Hansbro, Firefighter/EMTP Brent Flath, and Firefighter/EMTP Thomas Haire

A fire truck had arrived on scene first. The truck’s crew of first responders  – Chris Sieg, Pat Schuster, Thomas Haire and Brent Flath – had started CPR on the 17-year-old, Black patient named Jaylen Floyd. The first responders also shocked him two times with a defibrillator. They also applied an airway device to open his airway and administered epinephrine. Boyd and Gabriel soon arrived at the scene. Boyd served as the lead paramedic.

“It turns into business,” Boyd said of the EMS response.  “We know what we need to do. And that is regardless of the surroundings really. We know what we need to do to take care of whatever we’re dealing with the best way that we know possible.”

As part of Boyd’s role, he gathered as much information about what happened from  Jaylen’s friends who told him that it appeared Jaylen had been resting on the curl bar. However, a gym member who was nearby looked at Jaylen and realized he wasn’t breathing.

Boyd learned the gym member had started CPR before first responders even arrived. Boyd said this lay responder was the unsung hero in the situation.

“Apparently they were doing a fantastic job,” Boyd said of the lay responder. “That person probably did more than anyone to make sure the outcome was good for Jaylen.”

The team of first responders were at the scene for about 15 minutes before Jaylen was transported by ambulance to Medical Center of Arlington. Boyd said they also had to shock Jaylen while in the ambulance.

About a minute away from the hospital, Boyd was providing bag-valve-mask ventilations to Jaylen when there was a moment that surprised him.

“He sucked that bag completely out of air,” Boyd recalled. “I was really hopeful at that point. I was like ‘Man, he is going to make it.’

Boyd said he had never had a patient completely take one big breath like Jaylen did while providing bag-valve-mask ventilation.

Jaylen was first hospitalized at Medical Center of Arlington for a couple of hours, and then was transported to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth where he spent five days in the ICU.

Tracy Floyd, Jaylen’s mother, said doctors diagnosed Jaylen with long QT syndrome, which caused the cardiac arrest. He now has a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator and takes betablockers. She said he is healthy and doing well.

“He is doing absolutely amazing,” she said. “We were truly blessed.”

Jaylen is a high school senior who played the alto saxophone in the band at Timberview High School. He graduates on May 24, 2024, and will attend college at Oklahoma State University.

“He really is a good kid,” Tracy said. “He has given me no problems throughout his tenure of being a teenager, and so I’m very grateful for that for sure.”

Left to right: Firefighter/EMTP Gabriel Morales, LT/EMTP Chris Sieg, Demetra Hight (sister), Tracy Floyd (mom), Jaylen Floyd, Roderick Floyd (dad), Firefighter/EMTP Boyd Hansbro, Firefighter/EMTP Brent Flath, Firefighter/EMTP Thomas Haire

Jaylen, Tracy and the rest of their family met with the team of first responders who treated him. Hugs were exchanged. Tracy said she is forever grateful to the EMS professionals who responded with urgency and compassion.

“You cannot replace a human’s life,” she said. “There are not enough thanks you, hugs, money. It’s priceless. I’m extremely grateful. I have the utmost gratitude for the care they provided and for the selflessness of the first team to go ahead and respond after finishing up a call and it wasn’t even their call to go to. So my hats off to their work they exhibited before the second team arrived and came.”

Tracy is also thankful for the lay responder – a stranger – who immediately started performing CPR on Jaylen. She said the lay responder’s actions demonstrate the importance of the public learning CPR especially as research has shown that Black children are less likely to receive lay responder CPR.

In a study published in 2022 in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal, Circulation, the findings showed that Black and Hispanic children are less likely to receive bystander CPR than white children during an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

“The message I would have would be to please learn the basics for starting chest compressions or using an AED. He is a Black kid. You’re not likely to respond to a Black child or Black person unfortunately….. he is a kid who has a full life ahead so the importance of a lay responder just to learn and just to do compressions, it can save a life. It literally saved a life. It saved my son’s life,” Tracy said.

Each year, EMS Week is celebrated in the United States. This year’s EMS Week marks the 50th anniversary that the tradition has been held. EMS Week honors the dedication and commitment of EMS professionals. It represents a time to express gratitude for the lifesaving work that EMS workers do.

Boyd said he is glad Jaylen is doing well and he’ll remember this EMS Week how he and his fellow first responders worked to save his life. Boyd also said he encourages the public to learn CPR and not to rely on learning CPR from the movies where the technique is usually not shown properly because the rescuer is not pushing down hard enough.

“Learn the basics of just chest compressions and save a life,” Boyd said.