Caleb Morrow, First Responders Receive Heroes’ Welcome

Aug 24, 2014

[From left] R-I Superintendent Chris Hon, Sheryl Talkington, Tamara Lewis, Mike Morrow, Caleb Morrow, Jay Dowd and Heath Willis receive a standing ovation during a special recognition prior the opening game against Fox.

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. – Poplar Bluff High School sophomore Caleb Morrow and his first responders received a standing ovation from the crowd during the Mules Football opener of the varsity season on Friday, Aug. 22, at Fred M. Morrow Stadium.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please give Caleb, his mother Tamara Lewis and father Mike Morrow, and these fine Samaritans a big welcoming round of applause,” announced Jim Carrier over the PA system.

Caleb was able to return to school last week after the 15-year-old collapsed at the start of football practice on Aug. 4, due to a previously undetected heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Mules Athletic Trainer Heath Willis rushed to Caleb’s aid, performing CPR with the help of assistant football coach, Jay Dowd. Head coach Mark Barousse phoned 9-1-1 and EMTs arrived on the scene within a few minutes. Caleb was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, where he was successfully treated and released several days later.

Along with 275 Junior and Senior High student athletes, Caleb was cleared during a sports physical just a week and a half before the incident. He participated in 17 out of 20 team workout sessions over the summer. Sheryl Talkington, R-I health coordinator, provided the entire coaching staff their annual CPR training on July 24.

Following the incident, Missouri State High School Activities Association Executive Director Harvey Richards stated in an organization-wide email that Poplar Bluff R-I officials were “well prepared” and did an “outstanding job” responding in an emergency situation. Caleb’s family credits Mules Football coaching staff and trainers for saving their loved one’s life.


Young Caleb Morrow and his mother Tamara Lewis thank Heath Willis of Focus on Physical Therapy.

Young Caleb Morrow and his mother Tamara Lewis thank Heath Willis of Focus on Physical Therapy.


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