MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s stressful enough for coaches and athletes competing at a state tournament, but how about trying to save someone’s life just before you are supposed to compete?
It happened last week at the State Dance competition at the Target Center in Minneapolis when a 1-year-old boy stopped breathing.
The Fridley dance team considers themselves one big family. So just before they performed last Friday night, Coach Angela Burkhardt-Bixby put her 1-year-old son Colton in the hands of freshman dancer Lizzy Streitz so she could go to the bathroom.
“He’s one of those kids who falls asleep in whoever is holding him in their arms,” said Streitz.
This time Colton didn’t fall asleep. Instead, he stopped breathing and began turning blue. Not knowing what was wrong, Streitz began yelling for help.
“We heard screaming in the hallway- ‘He’s not breathing! He’s not breathing! Somebody please help,’” said Jen Stumm, coach of the Zumbrota-Mazeppa dance team. Stumm’s team was getting ready to go on the floor when she saw Streitz running towards her.
“Things are moving so fast at that point you don’t have the chance to stop and think about what’s really going on. You just do,” said Stumm.
The two teams started working together to save Colton’s life. Streitz called 911 and Jen, along with her assistant coaches, began using her CPR training.
“Doing it in real life is a totally different experience. It’s a much faster pace. There’s no room for error,” said Stumm.
After minutes of frantically giving Colton chest compressions, he began to breathe and then cry.
“That was the best sound we could have heard,” Stumm said.
He was rushed to Children’s Hospital, where doctors determined he had a febrile seizure due to a fever, but said he will be okay.
“I’m just happy he’s better and is his usual playful self,” said Streitz.
Colton’s mom couldn’t have said it better. Her team performed while she was rushed to the hospital with Colton.
On this day, she’s re-uniting the Zumbrota coaches who helped save her son’s life.
“How do you thank people for literally saving your son’s life? There really isn’t enough you can say. If something horrible had to happen, God surrounded us with the perfect people to make sure he was safe,” said Burkhardt-Bixby.
Fridley and Zumbrota still competed that night, but neither team made the finals. Then again, neither team seemed to care. Competition took a back seat to teamwork, and little Colton is alive because of it.
“It’s a miracle that he’s here and he’s alive and well. And I’m glad that I was able to help be a part of that,” said Stumm.
Streitz said her friend Kylie also helped her find help for Colton.
Colton’s mom said the Target Center staff also played a big role in helping their son, as they made sure they got to the ambulance okay.
Doctors said Colton won’t have any long-term health problems.