On the small White County Central campus, the excitement inside the gym usually involves athletes playing their hearts out. 

But Thursday, 12-year-old Evan Jones played with more than his heart could handle. 

“It was a surreal and real life changing experience to go through,” Coach Koerdt said. 

His basketball coach Ryan Koerdt watched the 6th grader collapse during practice Thursday, hitting his head on the concrete and struggling to breathe. 

“Then it got real life threatening at that point.”

He called 911 and the School Resource Officer, Deputy David Reeves was the first one there. 

“I wasn’t expecting what I saw when I got here,” he said. 

For two minutes Evan didn’t respond. 

“No pulse, no breathing,” Deputy Reeves said. 

That’s when the deputy got the defibrillator, a life saving device required on school campuses that the men are trained on, but had never used. 

“All we were thinking about, that’s some body’s child,” Coach Koerdt said. 

A shock and 2 rounds of CPR later, Evan came to. 

“I can’t thank them enough,” Evan said. 

He was taken to Unity Hospital in Searcy, then flown to Arkansas Children’s where doctors diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. 

“I have a severe thickening in muscle around my heart and it makes it hard for my heart to pump right,” Evan explained. 

While Evan won’t be battling it out on the court again any time soon, he’s grateful for the team that helped him win the fight for his life. 

“‘Cause if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”

Evan just came home for good Wednesday after getting the equivalent of a pacemaker placed on his heart. 

Friends, family and his life saving heroes all surprised him over the weekend for a birthday party. He turned 12 Aug. 28. 

He’ll likely never play competitive sports again, but he says his favorite subject is science and he may want to design new technology for people with his same heart condition. 

The ER doctor at Unity told the family and superintendent of schools that had the men not performed every task they did to help save Evan, he would not be alive today.