Panthers come together after unthinkable scare

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“I looked at my mom and said, ‘Mom, I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’” Those were the frightening words spoken by Mo Wade. As a player on the Jackson County Comprehensive High School boys’ basketball team, Wade found himself in a challenge bigger than the Panthers faced when taking the court Dec. 4 to challenge the Winder-Barrow High School Bulldogs.

Wade noted he had feelings of apprehension surrounding him the previous week and he even sent a text message to Head Coach Britt Beaver to inform him about the way he was feeling.

“A week before the Winder-Barrow game, I texted my coach and said, ‘I’m kind of feeling overwhelmed and I am starting to get depressed. Coach, I am getting kind of worried,’” said Wade.

A different kind of ailment that was unrecognizable and inescapable attacked him prior to the start of the Dec. 4 game yet he continued to push through. Wade was able to compete through the entire game but had trouble breathing the final seconds of the match.

“I came out of the locker room and they said I had a spell. I started having seizures,” said Wade. “They rushed me to the hospital. I stopped breathing and they gave me a breathing tube. They said it was a miraculous [that] I came back because I was supposed to learn how to walk and talk [again].”

Word began to spread on Twitter that Wade had fallen ill and students of Jackson County and his teammates showered him with prayers and support as he recovered from seizures from an unrecognizable cause.

“All of the prayers of the team helped me out. I thank my team for it because if it wasn’t for their prayers, I would not be here. It gave me a reality check because [my] team needs [me],” Wade said.

“The morning after it happened, everyone came into the gym and prayed. The kids came into the gym on their own and prayed for Mo to get better. It touched the whole school. It was such a neat thing to see. Kids from other schools heard about what happened and were [praying for him],” said Beaver.

If Mo was heavy on the minds of the Panthers, they certainly didn’t show it four days later when they hosted Washington-Wilkes High School. The team fought through adversity with great finesse and notched its first win of the season in front of the home crowd. Students and Wade’s teammates wore red shirts that read “Play for Mo” as a token of their support to Wade, who was advised not to play against the Tigers in order to allow his body time to rest.

“We have preached to those kids about having your brother’s back and being there for your brother and they got a chance to kind of live that out,” Beaver said.

“I don’t consider them my basketball team. I consider them my brothers because they really touched me. It was amazing. I am kind of glad I went through [this] because I am taking it slow,” Wade said.

“It kind of touched me the way they played [that night]. I have never seen them play like that before. They just went crazy. I thought, ‘Man, if we can just play like this when I get back.’ I was sitting in the stands thinking, ‘I want to be in the mix of it,’ [but] I had to control myself,” said Wade.

Wade, along with others, has suffered from [this] form of seizures that doctors have not been able to come up with a name for…until now.

“The doctors couldn’t find a name for [what I have]. There were kids before me that have had [what I have]. On my way home, my mom got a call from the hospital and they said they wanted to name it the ‘Mo Wade Syndrome’,” Wade said.

Wade noted he may have developed the ailment because of a rigorous schedule that was too much for his body to handle. The experience as a whole taught him a lot and now he would like to turn what was once a near-death experience into motivating others to take life one day at a time.

“I’m a living testimony,” said Wade. “I want to be a motivational speaker to kids and learn how to motivate people and tell them, ‘when your mind is tired, you have to rest.’”

“His body just shut down. It was too much for his mind,” said Beaver.

“My mind was so overworked. I would wake up in the morning and at 6 [a.m., go to] the gym [and] [practice] shooting. After school, I would [come] back to the gym, watch film or do something with my team. From there, I [wouldn't] get home until 8 [p.m.], and then I [would get] back on my phone or watch basketball,” Wade said.

Nowadays, Wade is looking forward to getting back on the court but realizes he must settle down and take care of himself.

“Even on the weekends, I would say, ‘Coach, we have to get in the gym this weekend,’” said Wade.

Today’s youth are constantly on the go and, if they are not out competing in their respective sport or out with friends, they have television, Facebook, Twitter and cell phones full of apps to cure their boredom.

“[Now] I have to let go of some things,” Wade said. “I have to relax.”