I laugh at stories like "world's luckiest boy" that include details of surviving hideous accidents, because I think the really lucky kids didn't have the cataclysm in the first place.
And yet ...
Recently, one of my young in-laws put my cynicism to the test with a dramatic rescue at the hands of 12-year-old friends. If you're one of those folks who talk about "kids today" and bemoan America's future, I'd like to tell you a story.
Riggin Vadnais and his dad, Rick, were meeting up with some friends to go to a mini bull riding event in Afton, Wyo., a couple of weeks ago. Four families whose boys, including Riggin, are mini bull riders had met up at Jeremy Scholes' house in Swan Valley, Idaho, to camp overnight and have a giant barbecue first. The boys, all bull riders and as close as brothers, took off on a pair of ATVs to go water the horses. They were on their way back when Riggin, who was driving one of the vehicles, scooted to the side of the road to avoid some washboarding. The tire skittered and it flipped, pinning him beneath the ATV and its other passenger, Wylee Hurst, the oldest of the quartet at age 13.
The other boys, Connor Scholes and McCoy Morton, looked back from their ATV to see only a cloud of dust so they headed back fast. McCoy and Wylee lifted the vehicle off Riggin's chest, while Connor grabbed him and pulled him out. Jeremy Scholes, Connor's dad, said the vehicle weighs more than 700 pounds, which makes that a pretty remarkable feat. Then they called their dads for help.
It was about to get both scarier and more amazing.
Riggin had no pulse and he wasn't breathing. So Connor, the youngest of the four pals, cleared his airway and started CPR. They were getting ready to head back to the house when some of the parents got there. An ambulance arrived not long after.
The ambulance crew immediately summoned a medical helicopter. At an Eastern Idaho hospital, he was stabilized and flown by medical jet along with his mom, Coy Seamons, to Salt Lake City, where another helicopter took him to Primary Children's Medical Center.
Doctors there discovered his aorta had been severed, something that many don't survive, but Riggin had also had a very surprising blood clot. The surgeons meticulously sewed him back together. He also had taken a hard knock on the head.
A few days in the intensive care at Primary Children's, followed by a few days in a regular room and Riggin, who is my brother-in-law's great-nephew, our families joined decades ago, is out and pining to go back to bull riding. That won't happen for a while.
The entire gathering of mini bull riders, I'm told, wore "Riding for Riggin" signs on their backs at their last event.
I asked Jeremy Scholes how his son learned to do CPR. The boy's quick action brought Riggin back so the doctors could help him. He was saved repeatedly that day by intervening hands, some of them remarkably young and unexpectedly skilled.
Turns out that Connor had never been trained in CPR, but his folks, Jeremy and Pauline, own an outfitter business and know it and first aid. They were both for a time emergency medical technicians. And Connor is apparently a boy who pays attention.
Riggin was also blessed because Connor's parents knew what to do and had the materials they needed — including a neck collar — nearby.
Mostly, Riggin is here because his trio of pals are people of action, capable of executing a plan without hesitation.
Heroes, in tween-sized bodies.
Makes me happier about the future, somehow.
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