By Arezow Doost & Marianne Martinez, CBS 11 News

AZLE (CBSDFW.COM) – A middle school football player in Azle was taken to the hospital on Tuesday night after he was seriously injured during a game. The boy is alive thanks to a nurse and a key piece of equipment – a defibrillator that was on the sidelines.

The seventh-grade student was participating in a game against Saginaw when he was hit really hard and collapsed to the ground. The boy was unconscious and his heart stopped beating. “It was surreal. Everybody there was in tears and just really shocked,” said Azle Independent School District Superintendent Ray Lea. “This is unheard of in a junior high football game.”

Trainers and the school’s nurse rushed onto the field and used a defibrillator to shock the boy, which got his heart beating again. He was transported to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth by air ambulance, and is now expected to be okay. Lea told CBS 11 News late Tuesday night, “They said he’s very responsive, that he knew who he was, he was talking to the paramedics.”

“I think the defibrillator saved the young man’s life,” added Lea. “We’re very, very excited about the young man being okay. It sounds like he’s going to be fine, so we’re real thrilled about that.”

Several parents gathered late Tuesday night both at the school and at the hospital to offer emotional support for the boy and his family. “We are a tight community,” said Azle parent Danny Malone, “and we try to take care of each other out here.”

It is still too early to tell what caused the boy to collapse – if he had a medical condition or if it was simply the result of an extremely hard hit during the football game.

Nevertheless, his family says he is now in good condition and asked that he not be identified.

“I want to tell everyone who was there last night that if it wasn’t for them my son wouldn’t be here. I appreciate everyone’s  support and concern and especially appreciate the nurse who saved my son’s life,” the family’s statement read.

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