HOUSTON - One Houston ISD teacher may be looking forward to the upcoming school year a little more than his colleagues after ending last school year unconscious and unresponsive.
Coach Robert Myers has had a special place in his heart for one of his amazing students, Ja’Marcus Pipkins for some time but now even more so, after Myers went into full cardiac arrest in his classroom you’ll never guess who was there to help save the teacher’s life.
"Man, dude I love you, man I really do. You know that," Coach Myers said to the phenomenal kid that saved his life while giving him a big hug.
It was an emotional reunion for a teacher and student at Chavez High School.
"Thank you man. Thank you," Myers said while choking back tears and hugging the teenager again. "You’re welcome," the now Chavez High School Senior answers and Myers adds. "I wouldn’t be here without you".
Robert Myers is a teacher and the Basketball and Chess Coach at Chavez High. One of his players 17-year-old Ja'Marcus Pipkins isn’t only a basketball player, the President and Captain of the Chess Team, and honor student. No, now we can add hero and lifesaver to the list because before summer break Coach Myers was in class and started feeling hot.
"I felt a pain down my back," the coach says.
"When I saw him laying his head down, like he never lays his head down. I knew something wasn’t right," Ja’Marcus adds.
Turns out Ja’Marcus just happened to stop by coach’s class at that very moment.
"I said, ‘help me man I think I need to go to the restroom,’" Coach Myers explains. But the 17-year-old says, "When I first helped him up he could carry most of his body weight," but the coach started to go limp.
So Ja’Marcus got him to a chair, grabbed a walkie talkie, opened Coach Myers' cell phone with Myers' thumb and called for help. When paramedics arrived Coach Myers was unconscious.
"The scariest part was when he lost his pulse," says Ja'Marcus.
EMTs got the coach’s heart beating again in the ambulance.
"I said I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest," Coach Myers explains. "She says on a scale of 10 what’s the pain? I said 20. She said oh my gosh you’re having a heart attack."
Coach was rushed to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital.
"It was very serious. He was unresponsive in the field," explains Memorial Hermann Clinical Manager of Cardiology Services Nurse Maddy Martinez, who says without Ja’Marcus we may be telling a very different story.
"We have a saying it’s called 'time is muscle,'" adds Martinez. "So the heart muscle is essentially dying if there’s no blood flow. So it was very urgent to get him in here."
"I knew it would be painful losing him. I just need him in my life," Ja’Marcus says.
"Don’t tell anybody but I love him. I love this guy," smiles Coach Myers, who has known Ja’Marcus since he was in 4th grade because Coach Myers also taught the teen’s siblings and has helped a number of students when their families fall on hard times.
"He’s done a lot of amazing things, like he sometimes helped out in my house, got me stuff, shoes stuff like that," says Ja’Marcus and the big-hearted teacher who’s been an educator for 30 years is still here to carry out more acts of kindness thanks to a special student whom he clearly shares a one of a kind bond.
Myers has been far more than a coach and teacher to this amazing student, Ja’Marcus. Both say the two big things they've learned in all of this, is to make every moment count and don’t sweat the small stuff.