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.

John Lauritsen

Comments (15)
  1. Michele says:

    What a terrific story. These are heroes.

  2. @momtoo says:

    Glad you know everything. Who died and made you judge. Maybe IF mom left him home the person watching him may not have caught the fact that he had quit breating!

  3. Not a doctor but play one up North says:

    I am so glad the little guy is doing well. But I have to say that they make a febrile seizure sound like a sneeze. A seizure is a seizure!
    During a simple febrile seizures, the body becomes stiff and the arms and legs will begin twitching. They lose consciousness, although their eyes remain open. Breathing can be irregular. They can become incontinent (wet or soil themselves); they may also vomit or have increased secretions (foam at the mouth). The seizure normally lasts for less than five minutes.
    I hope they check little Colton out real good with a specialist. Too easy for ER docs to just throw a name out and the parents take it as gospel.
    Thank you dance team! Just shows that it does take a village to raise a child!

  4. The Crux of the Buscuit says:

    Having raised kids I know that sometimes a fever is easy to miss. It is cold out, and the baby may have been ‘bundled up’ making a fever lmost impossible to notice. The young woman holding the baby may not have noticed any symptoms at all, she is after all a high school student and not a medic. Just nice to know the little guy will be o.k.

  5. Colton's loving family member says:

    Actually momtoo! he didn’t have a fever. He got a fever all of the sudden and it spiked so quickly that it brought on the seizure. I agree with momtoo. If he had been sleeping at home who knows if it would have been caught in time. Next time don’t be such a (swear word i won’t say) and watch what you say and stop attacking peoples parenting when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  6. hunnybear18 says:

    Anybody who has ever worked with children in a healthcare setting will tell you that one of the danger faced by this age group is that their little bodies compensate for an unknown period of time, then when the body stops compensating they can go downhill very quickly. I can believe he could have been showing no signs of illness in the hours before, then suddenly spiked the fever and exhibited the signs he did.

    Good job to everyone involved. Glad he’s going to be OK.

  7. Shannon says:

    Honestly shut up! Nobody needs to hear your negativity on a great story!

  8. Dadtoo says:

    Are you kidding me?? And what would you think would have happened at home? He would have been probably napping and never awoke. It is a great story with a happy ending. Leave it at that.

  9. AmberK says:

    To Colton’s mom….I am so glad to hear he is ok. Amazing Dance team! You girls did a great job!

    To all the negative commenters….if you aren’t a parent, don’t talk and if you are one….you should know better.

  10. You Go Girls! says:

    So glad for the happy ending! Kudos to all involved in saving this little boy. And then the dance team went out and still performed!! Talk about some focused atheletes. They could show the Vikes a thing or two.

  11. Angela says:

    Colton did NOT have a fever before the seizure. I am a mama of seven and none of my babies stay home when they are little…..they are always with me! 🙂

    Thank you for the well wishes. We are so very happy that he is ok. We will be doing follows up with doctors to make sure there is nothing that we missed. Poor guy is getting four teeth on top of all of this….

    WCCO did a wonderful job on the story! I am proud to be part of the tight knit dance team community. I will forever be grateful for what they did for my son!

    Love you FDT! And thank you to my son’s new aunties from Zumbrota!

    Angela……Colton’s mama

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  13. Aldo says:

    – Great photos. That hoacmmk shot turned out great, love the texture you added as well, and the baby looks comfy and secure. Love the light in their eyes, they really pop. Beautiful work!