A West Virginia family is mourning the devastating loss of their 8-year-old son, who collapsed suddenly after playing soccer with friends. Caleb Ray had just finished his team’s first practice on Thursday when he told his father he wasn’t feeling well, WSAZ reported.
“He told me, ‘Daddy I can’t see,’” Ryan Ray told the news outlet. “He fell and started convulsing a little bit. I yelled over there to call an ambulance and everybody came running over and Kristy and I performed CPR on him until the ambulance arrived.”
Paramedics were not able to revive the boy, and the Rays did not have access a defibrillator during their CPR efforts. They said they plan to use donations raised in honor of their son to buy defibrillators for local teams. The Rays also want to work with lawmakers to ensure that the life-saving device is on-hand at every practice and game.
“The fact that he was taken from us so soon it cannot be for nothing,” Kristy Ray, the boy’s mother, told the news outlet. “Something good has to come from this, and the type of child he was, he would want us to do this.”
Kristy Ray said she has video of her son jumping around and acting normally 10 minutes before tragedy struck. She said her son had a heart murmur as an infant and a mild case of asthma, but had never shown any signs of health issues. The devastated parents, who also have a young daughter, are now urging other parents to have their children examined before allowing them to play sports.
“We think about their safety in every other aspect,” Kristy Ray told WSAZ. “We don’t what them playing if it’s too slick, if there’s lightening, if it’s too hot.”
She said they plan to have the boy’s sister examined before allowing her to resume playing soccer.
“We don’t want her to do anything strenuous until we get a cardiac work up on her,” she said. “We’re scared. We’re scared it’s going to happen again. The chances are probably slim, but if it’s any chance we don’t want to take it.”