Normandy High School
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - For the first time since needing open heart surgery, Damontae Woods is able to speak about his alleged run in with a school security guard. And he told his story exclusively to the I-Team's Leisa Zigman.
Woods was in the ICU for more than a month. Doctors told his parents that his heart had been ruptured. Experts say it was the type of trauma seen in a head on car crash, where a steering wheel crushes the chest wall.
Woods has been released from the hospital and for the first time explains his version of what happened.He admits to running away from security because he didn't want to get in trouble for being tardy.
"He tackled me from behind and threw me on the ground and said, 'I got you now boy.' ... And then he put his knee down full force into my chest," he said.
"I was making some type of noise and then I kept saying, 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe.' But I guess they didn't believe me and then I was seeing blurry stuff. ... But all that happening and they had me in handcuffs when I couldn't breathe and all that."
Louella Woods, Damontae's grandmother, will never forget what doctors told her after six hours of surgery trying to repair Damontae's heart.
"When (the doctor) came out he said it looked like it was split in two pieces. It looked like someone took a knife and cut it. And he says he left him open to make sure he didn't bleed and make sure his heart was still beating," she said.
That security guard has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of separate investigations launched by the school, the local police, and the FBI.
According to one of the doctors on Damontae Woods' surgical team, the boy's case is so unusual, he plans on writing about the ordeal for a medical journal.
Normandy School officials said they are cooperating with police and the FBI.
It is unclear what Damontae's future holds. But for now doctors want him resting. The school district is sending a tutor to his home every day so he can keep up with his school work.