Risco referee revived with portable defibrillator at basketball game

RISCO, MO (KFVS) – Original Post

When a referee at a basketball game in Risco, Missouri collapsed on Tuesday, Jan. 31, a fifth grader rushed to save his life.

The principal said without a defibrillator nearby, referee Donnie Jenkins could have died.

Jenkins is recovering and is thankful for a team of people who came together to get him the help he needed.

“Anytime you’re in a crisis like that seconds matter, ” Principal and Coach Brandon Blankenship with Risco Schools said.

When the emergency happened, Blankenship said his son CJ didn’t hesitate.

In between the basketball games, Jenkins collapsed.

“Donnie’s talking to CJ and then he collapses there onto the desk and then he rolled – kind of slid off of that into the floor,” Blankenship said.

“I crawled underneath the desk, and then I went and got my grandpa,” fifth grader CJ Blankenship said.

That triggered a group who rushed to Jenkins’ aid.

“They got the AED out that we have here in the gym,” Blankenship said. “They had to shock him twice, and finally got a pulse. He went several minutes without a pulse.”

The school got the automated external defibrillator with grant money which now makes the cost seem small.

“If we would have not have had the AED here at the gym and had it so readily available – I don’t know that he would have made it,” Blankenship said.

Meanwhile, CJ’s dad said he’s a hero.

“He’s really proud of me for doing that,” CJ said.

And the machine played a big part.

“I really think the AED saved his life,” Blankenship said.

It was the Risco community who saved Jenkins life.

“I had to make a list to get them all,” Blankenship said.

Three nurses, paramedics, and one boy – who sprang into action.

“I’m so proud of our community,” Blankenship said. “Nobody hesitated to jump in there and help out.”

Blankenship said that’s the Risco spirit and looks forward to having Jenkins back on the court.

“We’re praying for him, and we hope he’s on the road to recovery,” Blankenship said.

“I hope that you are getting better, and I hope that you are feeling better,” CJ said.

Coach Blankenship said he spoke with Jenkins this morning and told him he was proud to talk to him.

Jenkins told him that he’s proud to be here.

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