Rockwall ISD

Seventeen-year-old Tyra Winters proves anyone can be a hero.

The high school cheerleader's quick thinking helped save a little boy's life last month.

Winters and her teammates from Rockwall High School in Texas were riding on a float in the homecoming parade when she saw a woman holding her toddler and crying for help.

"He was turning purple, so I immediately jumped off the float, I ran down to the kiddo, and I was like, 'I got him' and I grabbed him from the mom. I grabbed him and tilted him and I gave a good three back thrusts and he ended up spitting up," Winters told KTVT.



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Turns out the two-year-old had been choking on a piece of candy, but his mom, Nicole Hornback, didn't know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, so when she tried to dislodge the candy, she was unsuccessful.

"I was sitting right next to him. I just happened to look over. There was no noise, no coughing, no breathing," she told KTVT. "And at that moment that's when I tried to give him the Heimlich, and I've never taken a class. To feel so useless as a mother was the most terrifying thing in my life."

Winters learned how to help people who are choking thanks to her mom, who works in the medical field. And it's a good thing, too.

'He Was Turning Purple So I Jumped Off The Float' cbsloc.al


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Without intervention, choking can be fatal. According to CPR Certified, about 4,000 adults die from choking every year in the U.S. and one child dies every five days. But the Heimlich maneuver, which only takes minutes to learn, has an extremely high success rate, effectively saving approximately 70-86% of choking victims.

Horback is grateful to Winters for learning how to properly perform the life-saving maneuver. "She saved my baby. I commend her for being a teenager and being trained," she said.

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

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