South Jordan boy recounts surviving cardiac arrest after getting hit by Wiffle Ball bat

Jan 4, 2023, 8:22 AM

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A South Jordan family is reliving what happened to their then 7-year-old son after recently seeing an NFL player collapse.

Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin was in critical condition Tuesday after team officials say his heart stopped following a tackle during a Monday Night Football game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.

Katie Williams said watching a clip from that game brought back a flood of emotion.

Bills’ Hamlin in critical condition after collapse on field

“I was just like it! I mean (Hamlin) stood up, he took a couple steps and then just collapsed, just like Knox did,” Williams said. “There is nothing like seeing a lifeless body laying in front of you and feeling so helpless.”

In June 2019, Knox was playing behind the bleachers of his brother’s baseball game in Kearns when his cousin accidentally hit him in the chest with a wiffleball bat.

“I couldn’t really breathe. It was hard to breathe, like I was gasping for air,” Knox said. “I just screamed as loud as I could.”

As he was yelling for help in the crowd nearby, he collapsed and his heart stopped. The only thing he could remember immediately after falling was seeing a bright light.

“There was a lot of light around me and there was a bright yellow light in front of me and I was going towards it,” he said.

His mother ran to his side along with an EMT in the crowd who could not find a pulse.

(Photo courtesy: Williams family) (Photo courtesy: Williams family) (Photo courtesy: Williams family)

“One of the coaches on the other team was a doctor and so we called him over and he felt to make sure and said ‘nope, no pulse’ and they started doing CPR,” she said.

Thankfully they were able to get his heart beating before paramedics arrived a couple of minutes later. Knox was taken to the hospital where doctors told the family what happened was a rare phenomenon called commotio cordis.

“It’s just the perfect storm. It has to be (a hit) in just the right spot and it has to be during a certain part of the heartbeat,” Williams said.

Knox spent one night in the hospital where scans showed a healthy heart following the incident. He has had no lasting effects from that day.

(Photo courtesy: Williams family)

His family is grateful there were people at the field that day who knew what to do. They hope by sharing their experience to raise awareness about the medical condition and to encourage people to learn CPR.

“That could happen to anyone anywhere and you never know,” Williams said.

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South Jordan boy recounts surviving cardiac arrest after getting hit by Wiffle Ball bat