An Aspen teen who collapsed at a high school graduation party early Sunday was breathing on his own Tuesday and in fair condition at a Grand Junction hospital.
Friends, family members and fellow students heralded the improving condition of Hayden Spurrell, taking to Facebook to send hundreds of messages of encouragement.
The 18-year-old was attending Project Graduation, a party for the senior class at the Aspen Club that lasted from 9 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. the next day. The idea is to provide a variety of activities in a fun, safe environment, said John Maloy, superintendent of Aspen schools.
Around 1:30 a.m., Spurrell, who is bound for the University of Alabama, participated in a pool race and swam one length of 25 meters. He got out and sat in a chair before becoming unconscious. The cause remains unknown, but Spurrell fell forward and struck his head on the pool deck.
A lifeguard and other adults responded immediately, but could not find a pulse, Maloy said.
The first responders, including an Aspen Ambulance crew and Aspen police, used CPR and a defibrillator to save his life. Spurrell was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital and then airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. He was placed in intensive care and was temporarily put into a medically induced coma, breathing only through a ventilator.
On Tuesday, positive news was posted to a new Facebook page for Spurrell: “Hayden is now able to breathe on his own! All of his tubes have been removed, and he is trying to talk and ask questions. He has smiled, and he is responsive! It’s one miracle after another!!”
The webpage had more than 550 members within a day, and Aspen Councilman Torre put up a get-well placard on his name plate at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“The folks who have rallied around this family and this young man are a testament to the community we live in,” Maloy said. “People genuinely care about each other.”
Students at Aspen High on Tuesday were offered counseling services and could also send online messages and cards to Spurrell. The school’s crisis management team also met Tuesday.
Maloy said he was grateful the incident occurred when there were adults around who saved Spurrell’s life.
“He’s making progress,” Maloy said. “We have greater hope than we had before.”