BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Grayson “Gray” Lane Temple died last year from a cardiac arrest. Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin’s recent medical emergency has the family reliving the experience.
Grayson, 16, was 6’2″ and 230 lbs. He was a high school athlete and played golf, baseball and football.
“He was an energetic, strong, unbelievably kind gentleman,” said Sarah Malarcher, a registered nurse and family friend.
Grayson never complained of feeling ill and was rarely sick. One day he told his parents that something felt wrong. He complained of having headaches, always being tired and occasionally sharp chest pains.
“Kept pushing the symptoms aside and ignoring them and ultimately had to finally come clean and tell us that something was wrong,” said Michelle Temple, Grayson’s mom.
Michelle is a certified nurse. She found his blood pressure and heart rate were abnormal. He was taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery to help his arrhythmia. But on Dec. 8, he died due to cardiac arrest.
“I’ve had to bury my parents, I’ve already done that, I shouldn’t have to bury my own children as well,” said Dale Temple, Grayson’s father.
Grayson’s parents are left heartbroken, and his mother is searching for answers. She says that cardiac arrest is the No. 1 cause of death for athletes.
The Temple family started the Gray’s Army Foundation to help others athletes. The nonprofit teaches kids how to perform CPR to potentially help someone suffering from cardiac arrest.
The University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), a sports research organization dedicated to preventing sudden death among athletes, soldiers and workers, says the survival rate from cardiac arrest falls between 7% and 10% with every minute without CPR. A three-minute delay could leave someone with a 70% chance to survive.
“I don’t know if they’re hesitant to learn or don’t think that it will happen to them. Well, guess what? I didn’t think that it would ever happen to me and my family but it did,” Michelle Temple said.
After Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday’s football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the health crisis is now in the spotlight.
When I realized when he was in cardiac arrest, I mean it instantly brought back the pain and just the memories,” Michelle Temple said.
This is inspiring teachers and students at Live Oak High, Grayson’s school, to learn what to do during a cardiac arrest.
“I’m very impressed with the young men and women standing behind me. They say something, do something,” said Malarcher.