Wayland Grad saves child

A Wayland Baptist University graduate from Brazil wound up being in the right place at the right time with the right training to save a child’s life.

Rodrigo Silva was making a trip to Chicago to see the NBA Bulls play and then to St. Louis for a wedding during the Christmas break.

While he was waiting at the gate at Chicago’s busy O’Hare International to board the flight to St. Louis, a 3-year-old youngster swallowed a piece of candy and his frantic father was trying to dislodge it.

However, he was only pressing the candy farther down his son’s throat.

“The boy was turning purplish but a nurse told everyone around that he was alright because he was making noise,” Silva said.

Having received CPR training as a Resident Assistant at Jimmy Dean Hall dormitory where he is now Residence Hall Supervisor over 18 RA’s, Silva decided, “I wasn’t going to ask for permission to help. When someone is choking, you don’t have a lot of time.”

He bent his 6-foot-8, 275-pound frame over the boy and pushed on his stomach two or three times with two fingers and up came the candy. “It wasn’t the Heimlich Maneuver. I just pressed on his stomach with my fingers,” the 26-year-old Silva explained.

He said yearly CPR training is required for dorm assistants. Silva, who played basketball for the Wayland Pioneers for three years after transferring from Arizona Western, said he received some CPR training in his native Sao Paulo, Brazil and was able to use it once to help his sister, who was having trouble breathing due to bronchitis.

Silva said, “The little kid came and gave me a hug and was jumping around but I never did get his name or the name of his dad who thanked me. I was one of the first off the plane in St. Louis and several people said thanks for helping that little boy. Several of them started to clap but I said I didn’t need them to do that. I was just glad to be there at the right time and knew what to do.”

Silva received his Bachelor of Business Administration in 2013 and his Master of General Business and Accounting in December. He did an internship at Browning Seed last fall and plans to work soon for High Power Electric.