"Students were already in the mode of preparing some get well cards. Just really concerned, as we all are," says Kelley Ransdell, the Fayette Middle Schools Director.
Students, teachers and faculty at Jessie Clark Middle School continue to pray for Ben Highland. The 14-year-old was going through baseball drills Monday afternoon at Lafayette High School with other students when he collapsed, according to Fayette County Public Schools. He was one of several middle-schoolers trying to make the high school roster.
"They are allowed to play up, what's called playing up at the high school level as an 8th grader. Try-outs were within 2 weeks," explains Don Adkins, Fayette County Schools Athletic Director.
The reason for Ben's collapse isn't being release but his condition is improving, according to a UK Hospital spokesperson. School officials say after he collapsed, the athletic trainer performed CPR, while a coach called 911. Meanwhile, a neighbor, who happens to be a nurse, was walking by, saw what was going on and rushed to help with CPR until paramedics arrived. A defibrillator was also used. School officials say teamwork saved the 8th grader's life.
"The trainer's have what's called an emergency action plan just for this type of situation and that was a perfect situation last night and how it was handled with the trainers and with the coaches that, that plan was in place and everything was done as it should have been done," comments Adkins.
And, as Ben fights for his life at UK hospital, the community continues to send well wishes. Ray Thomas' grandson is classmates with Ben at Jessie Clark Middle School and he says they are both hoping for his speedy recovery. Thomas says his grandson also plays sports in the district, he's a football player and feels he is in good hands.
"I definitely feel he's safe. I've been to his practices and games and I have no problem with him doing this and I never worry," says Thomas.
Jessie Clark Middle School has extra counselors on hand Tuesday. The school district says it keeps athletic trainers on site at all sporting events and team practices.