PORTLAND -- Hayward Demison says he’s “dying to be great” this season.
That’s an interesting choice of words given what this young man experienced 11 months ago.
Last September, Demison scored the winning touchdown in Central Catholic’s win over Canby high school. It turned out that was only his first heart-stopping moment of the night.
“I went to the sideline and everything went black,” he said.
Everything went black because Demison was dying. Some might argue he did die when he went into full cardiac arrest.
“I walked over and saw him on the ground and they’re giving him C-P-R,” said Central head coach Steve Pyne.
Demison was brought back to life by a nurse who happened to be in attendance at the game. Their story was featured on NBC’s TODAY show. The story is now even more amazing as Demison is on the football field again, grinding it out during two-a-day practices to get ready for the season.
Cleared by physicians after surgery to repair his damaged coronary artery, Demison has a new perspective on life.
“He’s very focused on the bigger things in life,” said Pyne. “It’s been amazing to see him come though this.”
Pyne said he wasn’t overcome with emotion until the week after Demison’s heart attack, when the running back led his teammates onto the field.
“I literally dropped to a knee and cried, and thanked God he was still here with us,” the coach said.
“I have a big heart, it’s fixed now, I feel alive and healthy,” Demison said, “…and I’m dying to be great.”
There’s that expression again. Anyone who has followed his story would argue Hayward Demison has already accomplished that.