What would you do if you noticed someone in desperate need of help? Would you be willing to take a chance and do whatever was necessary in order to save them? In September 2019, one brave teen did just that, and her heroism has since continued to be recognized.
Tyra Winters, a Rockwall High School cheerleader in Texas, was praised for her quick actions that saved a little boy’s life when she performed the Heimlich maneuver on him in 2019. The then 17-year-old cheerleader at a Texas high school was participating in a homecoming rally when she heard signs of distress coming from the crowd, according to ABC News. She was stuck on a float with other cheerleaders and football players, but she anxiously looked around.
Unbeknownst to her, a 2-year-old boy named Clarke was choking on a piece of candy. He wasn’t getting any oxygen at all; he wasn’t gasping or even coughing. His airway was completely blocked. His mother, Nicole Hornback, tried to help, but she didn’t have any emergency training and didn’t know what to do.
Clarke’s face turned red, then purple. His mother frantically looked for help. Tyra spotted the commotion in the crowd. When she saw Clarke struggling to breathe, she realized what was happening and jumped off her float without a moment’s hesitation. She knew exactly what to do. Her mother had taught her the Heimlich maneuver a few years before.
Read on to learn more about this inspiring story of how one teenage cheerleader saved a tiny tot’s life.
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Tyra was on the Rockwall High School’s float alongside her fellow cheerleaders when she faintly heard the crowd saying that there was a child choking. According to ABC News, the 17-year-old scanned the crowd and saw a small child whose face was “super, super red” and was almost “turning purple.”
The cheerleader acted fast, running off the float to make her way over to the boy and his mother. “I knew exactly what to do from that point on,” she said, explaining how her mother had taught her the Heimlich several years prior.
To the amazement of the crowd, Tyra performed the Heimlich maneuver on Clarke until he gasped and spit up the candy. He could breathe again! His mother was in tears of gratitude when she realized that her baby was safe. Hornback called Tyra “very brave” for willingly doing her part to rescue Clarke and ultimately save his life.
The mom told ABC News that she had tried performing the Heimlich on her 2-year-old but was unsuccessful. “I just literally was holding him out and just running through the crowd trying to hand him off to anyone,” she explained. Thankfully, Tyra knew what to do, as she had given the small boy two or three back thrusts, which seemed to do the trick.
The homecoming rally continued, but no one forgot about Tyra’s heroism. The story of her quick action spread throughout the school and the community and eventually went completely viral.
Tyra, Clarke and Hornback reunited a few days later, although Clarke didn’t seem to remember the cheerleader who saved his life. Still, Hornback was incredibly grateful for Tyra’s quick-thinking and heroic actions.