Children's Health

Quick-thinking fifth graders save friend choking on corndog at lunch

Xander Benitez, left, and Hayden Gower, right, acted quickly to save Bryce Greeson, center, who was choking on a corndog.

Xander Benitez, left, and Hayden Gower, right, acted quickly to save Bryce Greeson, center, who was choking on a corndog.  (Fox 5 NY.)

The lunchtime heroics of two fifth grade students are being credited with saving the life of a 10-year-old classmate who was choking on a corndog. Buford Academy students Hayden Gower and Xander Benitez said they saw Bryce Greeson grab his throat during lunch on Wednesday and knew they had to act fast, Fox 5 NY reported.

“He just never acts like that,” Benitez told the news outlet. “I knew it was weird and he was struggling to breathe. I turned over to Hayden.”

When the boys failed to get the attention of an adult staff member, Gower performed the Heimlich maneuver on Greeson, dislodging the piece of corndog that had been stuck in his throat.

“I guess I was eating a little too fast and I accidentally swallowed a big chunk, and it got stuck,” Greeson told Fox 5 NY. “I felt the entire world weight on my shoulders and whenever Hayden gave me the Heimlich maneuver it was just lifted off.”

The school’s principal Kaleen Pulley was across the lunchroom and heard the students’ cries. She witnessed Gower’s heroic actions while making her way over to them.

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“This child performed the lifesaving method that he had no idea what he was doing, but he did it and it was just immediate,” Pulley said.

Gower said he had seen the Heimlich performed somewhere, but can’t remember where.

Buford Academy is now considering making the Heimlich part of its curriculum.