Local News

Local boy, 11, saves mom from choking

Brandon Starns' boxing skills come in handy

11-year-old saves mom from choking to death

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs dispatcher, a boy and his mother were involved in a life-threatening situation that had a happy ending.

It happened Wednesday night at the home of Paula Bales and her son, Brandon Starns, 11.  They had just returned from Brandon's boxing lesson at the Cobra Gym and were preparing for bed.

"I ate a bagel and it just lodged in my throat and I started choking," said Bales.  "I was telling him, and he called 911."

Bales said while she panicked and paced back and forth, the 911 dispatcher told Brandon what to do.

"She said to do the Heimlich (maneuver) and then she said how to do it," Brandon said.  The first time, I didn't know if if I was going to hurt her.  So I did it kind of soft, and the second time I did it a little harder."

After the third attempt, the food dislodged in Bales' throat.  She and emergency responders are calling Brandon a hero for his actions in a stressful situation.  He's already an eight-year veteran of the sport.

"He's so calm and focused, I'm sure that helped him," said Dennis James, Brandon's trainer.

Brandon agrees.

"I feel like it's kind of a big deal now," he said.

James said Brandon has enough talent to possibly earn a spot on the 2020 Olympic team.

"He's a good all-around boxer, but he has a heck of a jab," said James.

Bales said she'll continue to support her son in whatever he does.

"I'm just glad I'm still around to support him," she said.

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