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Orem High footballer in coma, but doctors expect to awaken him soon

Published May 17, 2013 5:24 pm

Sports • School rallies around teen, who was saved by his coach after he collapsed.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An Orem High School football player who collapsed during practice remained in a medically induced coma Friday, but doctors expected to wake him soon.

When sophomore Ben Smith opens his eyes, he will be told he can thank his coach, Tyler Anderson, for still being alive.

Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley said doctors are "crediting coach Anderson's quick actions in performing CPR for saving Ben's life" shortly after the student athlete collapsed Thursday afternoon during wind sprints.

Paramedics relieved Anderson and other coaches and continued CPR before taking the 16-year-old teen to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Doctors later discovered Smith has a heart condition that led to his collapse.

Bromley said Orem High teachers and administrators focused Friday on helping Smith's fellow students and teammates deal with the shock.

However, many students had found their own way to show support for their ailing friend.

"A lot of the kids came to school dressed up, boys in shirts and ties and girls in dresses, to show their support for Ben. They are also making and signing posters in the [school's] commons area, and when Ben wakes up, those posters will be taken up to him," Bromley said.

Bromley said she had been told that doctors may attempt to awaken Smith as early as late Friday afternoon. But late Friday night, the hospital could not confirm if Smith had revived.

His family, including parents Richard and Susan Smith and his 17-year-old brother, Jeremiah, were keeping vigil.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims