Alex Lott's Legacy: Richton baseball player dies, but saves 5 people

Alex Lott (pictured above) died at 17 years old after breaking his neck during a touch-football game, but as an organ donor, saved the lives of five people.
Alex Lott (pictured above) died at 17 years old after breaking his neck during a touch-football game, but as an organ donor, saved the lives of five people.

RICHTON, MS (WDAM) - What began as any other Friday for the Richton High School baseball team, and the Richton community, became the unthinkable.

Normally, the Rebels run sprints or run the bases for offseason conditioning. Instead, they decided to play touch football. Senior Landon Mayo threw a pass to his classmate and life-long friend, Alex Lott. "He went to run, and when I looked up, he landed flat on top of his head and rolled over," Mayo recalled of that Nov. 2 afternoon on the Richton baseball field.

Michael Banes was working in his office at the time of the accident. "Something actually just kind of hit me, that I need to go check," said the Rebels head coach, "and I met someone coming in the door as I was going out who said, 'Alex got hurt.'"

Lott lay on the ground, and told his coach he couldn't feel anything. "I reached down, grabbed his hand, and asked him to make a fist, and he didn't move very much at all," Banes said. He then took out his cell phone and called for an ambulance, but not before texting Lott's father and calling Lott's mother.

The volunteer fire department rushed Lott to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. "By the time we got over there, we found out that he had broken his neck," said Banes. But scans revealed things to be much worse.

"It kind of seemed like it was probably a stinger...or something that was going to resolve with some surgery," recalled Penny Lott, Alex's mother, who's also a nurse, "but when I looked at that scan, I knew it was not going to be good."

With his teammates now at the hospital, doctors rushed Lott to surgery, after which his condition appeared to be improving.  "I was hoping he was going to pull through," said Mayo, "Everybody was praying. Everybody had confidence that he was going to come through."

The team stayed at the hospital overnight and left Saturday morning, but immediately turned around when they heard their friend and teammate took "a turn for the worst." He suffered two strokes, and passed away Sunday morning.

"I am grateful for the fact (the nurses and doctors) did everything right because it allowed me 20 minutes or so with my son; to assure him and to tell him that I loved him and to hear him tell me that he love me again," said Penny Lott.

Lott's loss touched everyone in Richton, whether it be a teammate, a friend, a sister, a mother or a father. "It didn't seem real," said Lott's father Jason, as he held back tears, "It was like, I couldn't believe this was happening.

"You think about all his hopes and dreams, all he wanted to do, how full of life he was. How it could just end so suddenly."

At age 16, when Lott registered for his driver's license, he asked for two words that would save the lives of five other people around the world:

Organ donor.

"I (asked him), 'Is it your decision, or is it because I've harped on it forever?' said Penny Lott.

"He said, 'No. It's my decision, because I won't need them where I'm going.'"

On Nov. 30, Jason and Penny received a letter from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

Lott's lungs saved the life of a little girl from St. Louis.

His right kidney made it to a 12-year old Mississippi girl.

His left kidney and his pancreas went to a 29-year old Louisiana woman, who's suffered from type-one diabetes her entire life.

His liver saved the life of a 52-year old woman from Puerto Rico.

And his heart saved a 46-year old Florida man's life.

Lott is gone, but because of his choice, five others will live. "Honestly, it gives me something to hold on to knowing that I couldn't have my child, but through his loss, five other people have life," said Penny Lott.

"It's an honor to know that I have a child who thought that way at the age of 16," said Jason Lott, "It says a lot for him.

"I wish I could be a lot more like him."

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