PaperTexture - Coaches recall scary scene as Cartier Woods suffered cardiac arrest, rushed to hospital

Coaches recall scary scene as Cartier Woods suffered cardiac arrest, rushed to hospital

Mick McCabe
Special to Detroit Free Press

Three minutes into Tuesday’s Detroit Douglass at Detroit Northwestern boys basketball game, Douglas assistant coach Roland Eason noticed Northwestern senior Cartier Woods approach head coach George Tyson.

“Coach, I’m dizzy,” Woods said, according to Eason. “I need to come out.”

Douglass head coach Pierre Brooks, who coached with Tyson for 18 years, was watching the action on the court until he heard a loud noise.

Woods suffered a cardiac arrest and lay motionless on the court.

“I heard a big bang and I thought it might be a fight or something,” Brooks said. “I looked over and it was Cartier that fell out and Coach Tyson jumped to action.

“You could just tell by the care and love for the kid, he was giving him CPR and I’m praying that he actually saved that kid’s life.”

Brooks estimated EMT personnel arrived between five and 10 minutes after the incident and transported the youngster to nearby Henry Ford Hospital.

“It seemed like an eternity,” Brooks said, “but it was pretty quick.”

Detroit Public School Community District superintendent Nikolai Vitti sent an email to the district schools and personnel late Tuesday saying Woods was placed on life support at Henry Ford. A DPSCD spokesperson confirmed to the Free Press that Woods remained on life support on Wednesday afternoon.

Tyson, a special education teacher dealing with autistic children at Northwestern, was at school Wednesday waiting for updates from the hospital.

“Right now, we’re just waiting to see exactly what the status is going to be on my player, Cartier Woods,” Tyson said. “We haven’t heard any updates from last night on him. I’m actually going to go up there a little later today and see if I’m able to give him a visit or whatever.”

Tyson has coached over 30 years in the PSL and is in his fourth year at Northwestern. For 18 years, he served as Brooks’ assistant coach at Northern, King and Douglass.

“It was the first time we were facing off,” Brooks said. “We had 40 to 50 of our former players there.”

Brooks said the crowd grew eerily quiet when Woods collapsed.

“The whole crowd was in awe,” Brooks said. “They were gasping, based on what was going on.”

The game was immediately halted and eventually postponed. There was no way players from either team would have been able to resume the game.

“I was terrified,” Brooks said. “My wife was yelling at me to get the players to the locker room, but I didn’t hear anything. I was praying for the young man that he was going to be OK.

“His players were distraught and upset and crying. Even my players were crying and upset.”

Brooks said grief counseling was made available Wednesday for his players.

“I’ve lost players to gun violence and stuff,” Brooks said. “But I’ve never witnessed anything like that right there during competition or even at practice.”

Mick McCabe is a former longtime columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1. Save $10 on his new book, “Mick McCabe’s Golden Yearbook: 50 Great Years of Michigan’s Best High School Players, Teams & Memories,” by ordering right now at


Coaches recall scary scene as Cartier Woods suffered cardiac arrest, rushed to hospital
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