Youth football coach suffers heart attack, bystanders help save his life

Sep 14, 2023, 7:34 AM

Taylor Cowan was saved by bystanders when he suffered a heart attack while coaching a youth footbal...

Taylor Cowan was saved by bystanders when he suffered a heart attack while coaching a youth football team in Herriman. (KSL-TV)


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 are 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,” says Nate Rothe, the head coach of the youth team.

Youth football coach suffers heart attack, bystanders help save his life. (KSL TV)

He coaches the Herriman High School Freshman football team. While he started compression, head coach Dustin Pearce says something prompted him to get the AED and get over to the other field, fast. He says he doesn’t know why but, at that moment, he knew exactly what to do.

“For some reason everything was just crystal clear,” says Pearce.

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,” says Taylor. “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,” says Cole. 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,” says Rothe.

Many of the adults present that night were certified in CPR training. The youth league is looking to make that mandatory for all coaches.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


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Youth football coach suffers heart attack, bystanders help save his life