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Covington teen who collapsed at pep rally: ‘I could have lost my life’

bbastible@star-telegram.com

Cole Johnson was at a pep rally Sept. 9 at Covington High School when he collapsed.
Cole Johnson was at a pep rally Sept. 9 at Covington High School when he collapsed. Getty Images/Monkey Business

Homecoming took on a whole new meaning for Cole Johnson Friday night.

The 16-year-old was at a pep rally Sept. 9 at Covington High School when he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed.

Within seconds, Johnson stopped breathing.

"People ask me why I'm so quiet now," he told NBCDFW. "I can't sit here and think that I could have lost my life."

Covington Fire Chief Kevin Karlicek used an AED — automatic electric defibrillator — and football coach Charles Steele gave mouth-to-mouth.

"He turned two steps and was down," Karlicek told the station. "Within seconds he quit breathing."

Thanks to their quick thinking, the 16-year-old was able to rejoin them on the field Friday night before the Battlin’ Blue Owls’ homecoming game.

The medical helicopter crew that rushed him to the hospital that day in September presented him with the game ball.

"Scary, really scary," Steele told the station. "I can handle him never playing sports ever again, as long as I get to see his smiling face every day."

@bryanbastible

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