VHS star recovering from heart attack

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Former Vidalia High School standout Torrey Dixon hugs his mother Sherrl Dixon after a LHSAA Class 3A playoff game in March 2010. Torrey, who recently finished his freshman season at Baton Rouge Community College, is currently recovering after suffering a heart attack Saturday. (File photo \ The Natchez Democrat)

BATON ROUGE — Sherrl Dixon has never been so happy to watch her son be a picky eater.

Because after what her son Torrey Dixon has been through the past 48 hours, the fact that he’s able to eat anything is a blessing from God.

Torrey, a former Vidalia High School basketball standout who just finished his freshman season with Baton Rouge Community College, was rushed to Baton Rouge General Medical Center Saturday when he suffered a heart attack. After keeping him sedated through Sunday evening, Torrey is finally able to recognize his visitors, Sherrl said.

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“The nurses said he’s asking to eat, that he wants some Fruit Loops,” Sherrl said. “He just wants to eat breakfast.”

After staying in ICU for the past two days, Sherrl said her son would be moved into his own room Monday evening. She also said the doctors have been very impressed with how quickly he’s come in such short time.

“The funniest thing about yesterday is, after waking him up, the nurses said it would probably be a while before he responded, because it takes time for (the sedation) to wear off,” Sherrl said.

“He soon started fighting the nurse, and yelling at her to get off him. The nurse said she was very impressed with how strong he was, that he had no body fat.”

And the fact that her son is so athletic is what makes him having a heart at tack so hard to comprehend, especially since he’s only 18, she said.

“It’s devastating,” Sherrl said. “Initially, I was told it was a head injury, but when I arrived, I was told something else, and I just panicked.

“I’m very relieved (now). I know he’ll do fine. He has a strong mind, and he’s very athletic, and the nurses said that played a good role in how he recovered.”

In addition to family, BRCC head basketball coach Todd Foster was also on-hand Monday visiting Torrey. He said Torrey and a teammate were doing a workout in front of LSU scouts before he collapsed.

“I hate to really even talk about it,” Foster said. “Torrey made a three-pointer. I was sitting in the bleachers with the LSU assistants. After he shot it, he back-peddled, then went straight to the floor, unimpeded.”

Foster said he didn’t know what was going on at the time, but he could tell when he and the LSU assistants got to him that it was “very serious.”

“I could tell he was having trouble breathing,” Foster said. “He had the wind knocked out of him, and he was in a semi-unconscious state.”

It took just seven minutes for EMTs to arrive, and Foster said Torrey lacked a pulse for the final 45 seconds before they got to him.

“They got his pulse back in the gym. The EMTs were phenomenal.”

Foster said he’s grateful that Torrey has recovered as quickly as he did, and the whole thing has been hard for him to understand.

“I’ve never experienced this as a coach, and I hope I never do again,” Foster said. “It’s just a blessing (seeing him recover). God is good to us. Just to see the gleam in his eye and his smile — he has a beautiful smile — we’re glad to see it back.

“We’re getting glimpses of the Torrey we love and care about. I just praise God and thank him that he’s been good, and thank the wonderful medical people here (at the hospital).”

Torrey was also joined Monday by Vidalia assistant basketball coach Damus Smith.

“It’s been a battle, but he’s bouncing back,” Smith said. “He’s come a long way in two days, by the grace of God. He knows who you are and everything.

“He just wants some good food.”