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Teacher saves choking student; 'Any teacher would have done the exact same.'

"I ran over, about as quick as I've ran in about 20 some years," Kyle Hankins said.
Credit: Clarksville High School
Kyle Hankins is a business teacher and basketball coach at Clarksville High School.

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. — A southern Indiana high school teacher is being recognized for his quick actions which saved a student's life.

Kyle Hankins, a business teacher and coach at Clarksville High School, said his seventh period students were busy working on a project. One student was eating a piece of hard candy when she suddenly began coughing.

"I didn't think anything of it, and then [she] kinda started doing some hand motions like the universal sign she was choking," he said.

Hankins quickly went into action and told some students to get the school's administration while he ran to the girl to help her.

"I ran over, about as quick as I've ran in about 20 some years," he said. "I hit her a couple times on the back with an open palm to try to get it to dislodge and quickly thought 'Okay I have to do the Heimlich."

Credit: Clarksville High School
Kyle Hankins.

School officials said Hankins performed the life-saving technique with "calm and composed precision." After two or three attempts, the candy was dislodged and the girl was okay again. 

Clarksville High School Principal Adrienne Goldman said Hankins' heroic actions "exemplify the caring and responsible educators we are fortunate to have."

That being said, Hankins doesn't consider himself a hero for doing his job.

"It was a crazy deal, but I think anybody in my position would do the same thing. Obviously we're here to protect the students if something's going wrong, so my instincts kinda just took over and that's what I did," he said. "I don't consider myself anything special. I think any teacher would have done the exact same thing I did."

According to Goldman, the young girl's family expressed their gratitude for Hankins' intervention saying that his "timely response played a pivotal role" in saving their daughter.

The school said the incident serves as a reminder of the importance of first aid knowledge and quick response in emergencies.


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