Texas cheerleader saves choking toddler during homecoming parade

PHOTO: High school cheerleader Tyra Winters poses for a photo in Rockwall, Texas. Winters jumped off a float during the homecoming parade to aid a choking toddler.PlayCourtesy Tyra Winters
WATCH News headlines today: Nov. 12, 2019

A high school cheerleader sprung into action at her homecoming parade in Texas when she spotted a toddler choking and managed to save him, she and the little boy’s family said.

Tyra Winters, a 17-year-old student at Rockwall High School, told ABC News Wednesday that she was on the school’s float with her cheerleading squad and the football team on Sept. 18 when she heard murmurs that a child was choking in the crowd.

She scanned the crowd and saw a little boy whose face was "super, super red."

"At this point, he’s kind of turning purple," Winters said.

She then jumped off the float and ran to the boy, who was with his mother, and successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver.

"I picked him up and then I tilted him downwards and gave him two or three back thrusts. He then was spitting everything up," Winters said.

PHOTO: High school cheerleader Tyra Winters poses for a photo in Rockwall, Texas. Winters jumped off a float during the homecoming parade to aid a choking toddler. Courtesy Tyra Winters
High school cheerleader Tyra Winters poses for a photo in Rockwall, Texas. Winters jumped off a float during the homecoming parade to aid a choking toddler.

The boy’s mom, Nicole Hornback, told ABC News that she had tried to perform the Heimlich on her son, 2-year-old Clarke, but wasn’t successful.

"I just literally was holding him out and just running through the crowd trying to hand him off to anyone," Hornback said.

She called Winters "very brave" and praised her for being so willing to take a child’s life in her own hands.

The three reunited Tuesday, but Clarke didn’t remember Winters.

"It’s hard for him because he’s so young," she said. "He doesn’t even remember what he ate for breakfast."

Winters said even so, the two had a good time together and shared a high-five.

She's grateful that she could be there for Clarke, and that her mother taught her the Heimlich a few years ago.

"I knew exactly what to do from that point on," Winters said.