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Athlete who collapsed has heart condition

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Fast action by football coaches and staff at a southeast Missouri high school are credited with saving the life of a stricken player.

Poplar Bluff High School sophomore Caleb Morrow collapsed while warming up before practice Monday - the first workout of the season. The team's trainer, Heath Willis, said he saw Morrow stumble and fall. Willis and a coach performed CPR while an ambulance was called.

School district spokesman Tim Krakowiak told the Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic that Caleb was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, detected in about 0.00004 percent of people, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is caused by an extra electrical pathway in the heart that can cause rapid heartbeat.

Caleb's uncle, Quentin Morrow, says Caleb will have surgery to correct the problem and should make a full recovery - even return to football eventually if he chooses.

"This was not football related or heat related," Quentin Morrow said in a statement. "He had an unknown heart condition. We're thankful this happened in a place where professionals could help. It was a matter of time when it was going to happen. We appreciate the quick response from the athletic trainer and coaches. They saved his life."

Poplar Bluff School District superintendent Chris Hon said in a statement that the district was "thankful for the reaction from our medical professional and coaches, the quick response from the ambulance, and perhaps a little help from above. We will continue to pray for the best outcome regarding our student athlete today."

Players had received physicals on July 24 - the same day coaches were given training in CPR. Sheryl Talkington, who provided the training, said she was proud of the way coaches responded.

"They kept their heads, kept their cool, did what they were trained to do and saved his life," Talkington said. "I'm just so thankful that this one has turned out so well."

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