LUBBOCK, Texas — Xavier Ramirez was just a Slaton ISD sophomore when he faced a life-threatening situation at a football game. His journey has come full circle now that he works with the paramedic who saved his life.

In 2015, high school football season approached and the Tigers were set to play a game liable to affect their playoffs spot, Ramirez said. It had also been raining, making the field muddy.

“I didn’t think anything was gonna happen,” Ramirez said. “It was my first year on varsity, I was pretty excited.”

During the game, Ramirez said another player on his team dislocated his hip. Then a second player hurt his neck. At that point, no ambulances were around, just an off-duty paramedic, Shelly Parker.

Ramirez told he began to get cramps so he sat out for a bit. When he got back in the game, his chest began to hurt. He took it easy, but still the pain became too intense.

“I was gasping for air, I was dizzy, my chest was hurting, my head was hurting,” Ramirez said. Next, he blacked out.

“All I remember is at one point waking up and somebody was doing CPR on my chest,” Ramirez said. “I threw him off because CPR hurts when you’re awake.”

Parker and several fire department volunteers successfully resuscitated Ramirez after 30 minutes of CPR and a shock with the defibrillator (Ramirez said he passed away for three minutes before being shocked). Ramirez was sent to Covenant Children’s where he was put into a medically induced coma and diagnosed with a rare heart condition called Anomalous Coronary Artery. In Houston, he underwent open-heart surgery.

Image courtesy of Xavier Ramirez

According to Ramirez, his doctor told him, “If she [Parker] didn’t do what she did I probably wouldn’t be alive right now… I just had to go meet her.”

Parker and Ramirez created a bond after that. After Ramirez graduated from San Angelo, Parker encouraged him to be an EMS and go to medical school. Ramirez said he wanted to be like Dr. Colon.

For Ramirez, “The end goal is being a Pedriatric Cardiologist at Covenant.”

Ramirez is a month away from graduating with his Master’s in biology at the University of Saint Joseph.