CINCINNATI, Ohio (KT) – Prayers for William Burton, the Kentucky Little League player who wasn’t given much of a chance to live after collapsing at the field on Tuesday, are coming from everywhere.
Not just in his small hometown, but from everywhere – as in Zimbabwe, where his aunt and uncle, Kyndra and Nick Moore, are missionaries serving through the International Mission Board.
“She sent me a video of those men praying at 5 o’clock in the morning Wednesday,” said Amy Burton, William’s mother. “I’d been up all night and I had been pretty strong. I hadn’t cried. But when I saw those men crying out to God for my son, I was sobbing hysterically. I prayed ‘God, please hear what those men are saying!’’’
William Burton is the 12-year-old boy from Grayson, Kentucky, who collapsed on the field Tuesday with cardiac arrest and is now seen as a miracle – and maybe even a little bit of a celebrity – because of an amazing recovery.
His mother, Amy Burton, said the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals have been in contact through the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where William is healing. And that’s not all. Reds’ Hall of Fame baseball announcer Marty Brennaman sent him get well wishes over the radio airwaves.
“The hospital does e-cards and I have a whole stack of them from all over the United States and even Canada,” his mother said. “It’s insane from people who don’t know and have never met.”
But one thing his mother makes sure everybody knows: “Let God get the glory!” she said.
Amy Burton and her husband Derrick, devoted Kentucky Baptists and members of First Baptist Church in Grayson, and other children Thomas and Ellie, have been through an emotional week.
Neither parent was at the field when the incident occurred because they were taking the other children to baseball practice and piano lessons. “There’s two of us and we had three places to be,” Amy said.
But the dispatchers in Carter County reached her on the cellphone and told her that William had collapsed and they were going to the field.
“I knew it was urgent, but my thought was ‘It’s going to be OK. William is going to be OK. William is a professed Christian and he believes in Jesus.’ It’s going to be OK.”
His sister, who is 7, told her mother that he didn’t want her brother to die.
“I told her William is going to be OK, no matter what. He will either be in heaven or be able to spend more time with us here. She just cried out ‘Jesus, Jesus heal my brother!’’’
Amy said she and her husband both had to share the thought that he was going to be OK, no matter what, because of their faith in Jesus. If William died, he would be in heaven, because he believed in Jesus. They were secure in that belief.
When her son was brought out of sedation, he asked “Where are we?” and his mother told him about all that had happened, which he didn’t remember. A couple of hours later she said he asked another question: “Why me?”
“I told him God chooses certain people to work miracles through,” she said. “He chose you to show His glory to the world.”
He once told his mother he hoped that when he died that his mansion would be next to Papaw Ben, his grandfather who has passed. William is a good baseball player and is popular at school. “He’s the kid who makes every other kid feel good. He’s an encourager,” his mother said.
His nearly overnight recovery has stunned staff at the prestigious Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he has been since Tuesday night. “They cannot believe how quickly he’s recovered,” Amy said.
Meanwhile, well-wishes keep pouring in through social media. A coach with a traveling baseball team called the Titans immediately made stickers with WB5 on them – William Burton and his uniform No. 5 – that he sold for $2 apiece with proceeds going to the Burton family.
Photographs with players wearing his stickers have been shared on Facebook with the Burtons.
“Baseball is the American sport and we’re getting a lot of encouragement and support from the baseball community,” she said.
The necessity of having AEDs at ballparks, schools and anywhere else was driven home. William had an AED in his backpack, but nobody knew it. Luckily, ambulances were close by to administer the lifesaving charges.
“God picked a small little town and a small little family for such a big platform,” his mother said. “We can only praise Him for what he has already done this week.”