West TN athlete recounts terrifying game night

GREENFIELD, Tenn.—After a terrifying injury to an NFL player, it brings back painful memories to a local family.

High school football wide receiver, Blake Rodehaver’s senior season came to a terrifying end after he collapsed on the sidelines following a play late in the season opening game.

At the time Rodehaver was seventeen. As he laid on the sidelines, athletic trainers confirmed he did not have a pulse for twenty minutes.

It was on this sidelines, that Blake went into cardiac arrest. His parents, who were in the stands, quickly rushed down onto the field to come to his aid.

Blake required to be defibrillated three times before being loaded onto an ambulance that took him to a helipad, which then airlifted him to Vanderbilt.

Rodehaver did regain consciousness in the back of the ambulance, so he was able to communicate with his parents slightly.

The football game was ended and declared a no contest and Rodehaver’s parents were taken to Vanderbilt Hospital by the athletic director at Greenfield High School. Even though Rodehaver’s parents spoke briefly to him before the airlift, they still were unsure of his condition and extremely worried during the two and a half hour drive.

“Everything happened so fast and you don’t haveā€¦ I don’t even know how to explain it. You can’t grasp what’s happening and it was just terrifying and we just prayed as hard as we could all the way to Nashville,” said Shonda Rodehaver, Blake’s mother.

“Last time we saw him, he was talking, and he was fine but a two and a half hour drive, a lot of things can go through your mind,” said Jason Rodehaver, Blake’s father.

At Vanderbilt, Rodehaver would be hospitalized for 6 days. It was discovered that he had a rare genetic heart condition called brugada syndrome . This condition while rare, can be life threatening.

“They said it’s very unusual, most people with brugada die in their sleep. So to be in the middle of a football game is unusual, and to be his age is also unusual. That’s part of where we just tie that back to it’s a miracle. Cause had he been anywhere else, we wouldn’t have the immediate care,” Blake’s mother said.

January 2, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, suffered an eerily similar injury when he collapsed after a play for ten minutes. While watching the game, the Rodehaver’s relived the traumatic memories of their son.

“I was back on the field at Greenfield. I mean it just actually took me right back in my brain and that’s where I was. I was sitting there going through this whole thing again,” Blake’s father said.

The Rodehaver’s said they can sympathize with Hamlin’s family and Blake said he can sympathize with Damar himself.

“I know that feeling of you’re terrified, you’re young, you see your whole life ahead of you, but you also see that it can be taken away like that. So, I just wanted to be there for him and his family because most people don’t understand what that’s like and I understand a hundred percent what that’s like,” said Blake Rodehaver, student athlete.

Blake said he appreciates life more after his collapse and it has motivated him to live everyday with a purpose.

Because of his condition, Blake can no longer play contact sports, so, when he graduates he wants to become a coach.

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