Quick Thinking Coaches Save Athlete’s Life from Anaphylaxis During High School Track Meet


Two coaches at Dorman High School in Roebuck, SC were preparing for a track meet. Little did they know that this time, the race would be between life and death.

Ray Busby, a first-year long jumper, picks up the story:

I got on the bus, and I was drinking a strawberry milkshake. But once I consumed it, I knew something was wrong.

He checked the label and discovered the drink contained cashews to which he has a severe allergy.

“I tried to calm myself down, tried to do breathing exercises, but I just realized it was getting worse,” he said.

When he stepped off the bus, Busby told his coaches who sprang into action to deal with the emergency.

“Then I sat down and that’s when I passed out,” said Busby.

The coaches acted quickly knowing there was little time to spare.

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Said Coach Jeff Johns:

He kind of just went out. When he lost consciousness, Coach Caudle looked at me and immediately started saying ‘coach, grab his feet. We gotta get him to the ground’.

It kind of caught me off guard. As we got Ray to the ground, we both realized, at that point, that he wasn’t breathing.

Added Coach Tariq Caudle:

It was very scary, scary because it’s not natural for someone to be on the ground, not breathing. On top of that, it was a child.

Johns checked Busby’s vital signs while Caudle began administering CPR.

“I kind of went into a moment of darkness for a second, because I really was trying my hardest to get him to breathe right then and there,” said Caudle, who likened the incident to time standing still.

“He took the gasp and I immediately stopped, and Coach Johns took over. Because I was so relieved that he took that breath,” he said.

Busby was administered three epinephrine auto-injectors and regained consciousness in the hospital the next day.

Latasha Bowser, Ray’s mom, was on the way to the meet when she received the call and rushed to the hospital.

Said Bowser:

It was definitely tough to see him on a ventilator, not breathing on his own. I’m very proud of him for fighting, but I’m also proud of everyone who was there to support and fight for him too.

My son was not breathing, and they helped bring him back for life. For that, I am deeply grateful and appreciative

“I wouldn’t be here without them,” said Busby,

Busby is regaining his strength and hopes to rejoin track after spring break. This wasn’t his first time going into anaphylactic shock, but he says it was his scariest.

Here is a report from WSPA-TV News detaling the incident:

We are relieved tragedy was averted and Ray Busby is doing well. We wish him a speedy and complete recovery and a return to track.

We thank the Coaches Caudle and Johns for their quick thinking and action that no doubt saved Busby’s life. They serve as a model for school faculty and staff everywhere, who should be trained to deal with anaphylactic emergencies like this one.

We remind our readers that epinephrine is the only drug that can halt and reverse the progression of anaphylaxis which would have proven fatal in this case had the coaches not been on top of their game. Be sure to take two epinephrine auto-injectors with you everywhere… every time.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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