Youth football coach suffers heart attack, bystanders help save his life
Sep 13, 2023, 10:34 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2023, 8:08 am
HERRIMAN, Utah — Call it instinct, a miracle, or training that paid off.
Whatever it was, a series of small events that took place at a Herriman football practice is the reason one of the coaches is alive tonight.
Taylor Cowan has coached with the Herriman Youth Football Bantam team for years. Last week he was doing drills with the teens when he collapsed on the field.
“I saw out of the corner of my eye, Taylor stumble and then collapse,” said Nate Rothe, head coach of the youth team.
Taylor and his brother, Scott, have helped Rothe coach the team for years. Across the field, the Herriman High teams were just finishing practice when the coaches heard yelling.
“All of a sudden I just heard somebody yell that they needed a trainer,” Heath Holverson said. “I looked down there and I could see a coach was down. And so I ran over.”
He coaches the Herriman High School freshman football team. While he started compression, head coach Dustin Pearce said something prompted him to get the AED and get over to the other field, fast. He said he didn’t know why but, at that moment, he knew exactly what to do.
“For some reason, everything was just crystal clear,” Pearce said.
He grabbed the AED and made a run for it. Taylor Cowan was unresponsive. His brother knew he had been having heart issues for a few months and even had medication just in case something like this happened. But, on this night there was no warning. Taylor doesn’t recall collapsing.
“The first thing I remember, just waking up in the hospital with my friends and family nearby telling me I had chest compressions,” Taylor said. “They shocked me and it looked like I wasn’t going to survive there for a little bit.”
Taylor’s nephew Cole is on the team. The night was terrifying for him.
“I was really scared. I thought he was dead,” Cole said. As a family member, he was aware of the concerns about his uncle’s heart.
For everyone involved, football brings them together and this moment on the field has bonded them for life.
“It was very unique how everything came together and I believe that, you know a string of miracles occurred on that day to save Taylor’s life,” Rothe said.
Many of the adults present that night were certified in CPR training. The youth league is looking to make that mandatory for all coaches.