LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Former Red Raider offensive tackle and All-American (1975-77) Dan Irons was just days away from heading back to the doctor to follow up on some "weird heartburn" he'd been having. But, the heart attack didn't wait.
"They did an EKG," Irons said. "I was supposed to go back for a stress test Monday. It would have been Monday of next week when I went to go get that but I didn't make it. All I remember is waking up Tuesday afternoon and it was just a big fuzz."
Irons, now a salesman of furniture for schools, tells KCBD he was slated to meet with Lubbock-Cooper ISD on Monday, Oct. 2. While taking in samples to the administration building, he collapsed at his car in the parking lot.
"John Windham, who used to be the athletic director out there and is now the new construction director, just happened to be coming over to the administration building," Irons said. "He said it looked like I was laying on my back working under my car. He walked over there and said 'I heard you need some help.' I didn't respond."
That's when Windham and staff of Lubbock-Cooper sprung into action.
"John Windham found him and initiated emergency response," Director of Health Services Kristy Rose said. "Chris [Alderson] noticed he wasn't breathing and put on the AED. Everyone had such an important role to play. Heather Riley, the first nurse on scene, came and over and started doing rescue breaths, even did some compressions. He's an ex-football player, so he's a large guy and it takes a lot of energy. All of the officers that were there, I just felt like their cheerleader and they did an amazing job."
Chief Rick Saldana and Officer Reuben Reyes were part of the team that was just recently re-certified in CPR. They took turns to provide at least 10 minutes of the continuous CPR.
"Our fourth shock, we were pretty desperate," Rose said. "But, it's still smooth and working as a team. It was wonderful to see our Lubbock-Cooper family coming together to save a family member of the schools."
After that terrifying 10 minutes, Irons said Superintendent Keith Bryant, whom he met as a track athlete at Texas Tech, started another life-saving measure.
"He got the staff out there to pray over me," Irons said. "Then, all of a sudden my heart started beating."
EMS then arrived on scene and took Irons to UMC, where he is still being treated as of Thursday.
"I am very thankful and blessed to have been at the right place at the right time and be a part of that and saving a life," Rose said. "I know everyone involved is extremely grateful he lived and gets to have a reunion with his family and come back and see us. We're looking forward to that reunion and getting to hug him."
Irons said he is ready to provide that "big bear hug" to those he calls quality, first-class people who gave him a second chance.
"They are going to be my friends for life," Irons said. "We have a bond for life. I'm just glad my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ had those people there at that particular time and they were trained to do what they did."