Houston man credits Travis County park officer with saving his life during extreme heat exhaustion

A Houston man, who was paying a visit to Pflugerville late last month, is crediting a Travis County Park Officer with saving his life from a severe case of heat exhaustion.

"I've been playing for years, and so I never thought that could happen to me, to be honest with you," said Ikenna Osuji, who plays soccer for the Invincible Eagles. 

He was playing in a challenge at Northeast Metropolitan Park, not realizing his fiercest competition was blazing down from above.

(Ikenna Osuji)

READ MORE: Austin city leaders urging residents to be prepared for summer heat

"I was feeling lightheaded, dizzy," said Osuji. "I could walk, but I was just sweating profusely, and I was really having sharp muscle cramps on my legs."

When he was ready to go home, he said his cramping was so bad, he couldn’t sit in his car. So he laid down under the shade.

That's when Travis County Park Officer Rigle found him.

"I think he was God sent to be honest with you," said Osuji.

(Ikenna Osuji)

Osuji snapped a photo with him in the ambulance, knowing then that Officer Rigle's persistence to call for medics might have just saved his life.

"He kept on repeating this may be symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, but if I call the ambulance, you have to go this time and I promised him, I said, ‘Yes, I’m going to go to the ambulance this time’ and that was what made me check-in," said Osuji.

Sure enough, Osuji had a severe case of heat exhaustion. It took ten IV bags to get him re-hydrated.

"Not until I went to the hospital and spoke to the doctors and nurses did I really understand the dire situation that it was, and I appreciate them for that," said Osuji.

READ MORE: What can I do to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

As Texas heats up, he hopes others will take note of what heat-related illnesses look like, including cramping, excessive sweating, clammy skin, and a rapid or weak pulse, because not everyone may be so lucky to run into someone like Officer Rigle.

"It’s important to pay attention to your body," said Osuji. "It’s important to pay attention to the heat and stay away from the heat and drink lots of fluids."

FOX 7 Austin reached out to the Travis County Parks organization to find Officer Rigle but has yet to hear back.