Kylar Young, A Fearless Football Fanatic Keeping Everyone on their Toes

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Kylar Young, A Fearless Football Fanatic Keeping Everyone on their Toes

Kylar Young is fearless, and he came into the world keeping everyone around him on their toes. Like a trick play in football where the team lines up for a field goal but instead runs or throws the ball, Kylar decided he was going for the end zone at only 29 weeks gestation. Weighing a sprig over 2 pounds at his debut, even his mother was caught off guard.

Now, at 7 years old and tall for his age, Kylar is often spotted wearing his football letterman jacket, a glimmer in his eye.

Kylar’s mom, Tyresha Balloon, a Health Unit Coordinator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health, never expected to go to work one day and instead of logging into her computer, head down a few floors to give birth to her son. Especially since Kylar wasn’t due for months.

But maybe, in hind sight, his antics shouldn’t have been surprising. Kylar’s appearance was, as a whole, unexpected. Tyresha didn’t even know she was pregnant until she was nearly five months along. Which meant little or no prenatal care up until that point.

“I had taken pregnancy tests earlier and they had all come back negative,” Tyresha said. “I was still feeling ‘different’, so I tested again. I was surprised to see it was positive.”

So the day Kylar was born, Tyresha hadn’t planned for an emergency C-section. She’d felt a little under the weather but soon learned she had suffered a placental abruption, an uncommon but serious complication.

During pregnancy, the placenta supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen. It is supposed to be attached to the wall of the uterus. If it starts to separate from the uterus before childbirth (abruption) it can decrease the nutrients and oxygen the baby gets and cause the mother to bleed heavily.

Marjorie Makoni, M.D., neonatologist at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, said this is exactly what happened to Tyresha.

“It is usually sudden and can be life-threatening in some cases. Sometimes the abruption can be caused by trauma, but often we don’t know why it happens,” Dr. Makoni said.

The next few months after Kylar was born were challenging. Tyresha was hospitalized due to heavy blood loss and complications during the birth, and because he came so early, Kylar spent nearly two months in the NICU. He needed assistance from a breathing machine because his little lungs weren’t quite ready for prime time.

Fast forward seven years, and Kylar is happy and healthy. He has a few allergies and sometimes has asthma. But while some preemies can suffer developmental delays and vision problems, monitoring and checkups show that Kylar is right on track and “beating his own drum,” as his mother puts it. He’s thriving thanks to the experts at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.

“We have an amazing team of attending neonatologists, neonatal-perinatal fellows, pediatricians, pediatric residents, neonatal nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists as well as dedicated nurses specialized in caring for very small babies in our unit,” Dr. Makoni said. “We treat the whole patient. We have NICU-specific health professionals such as dietitians, milk technicians, lactation specialists, pharmacists and therapists. We consider members of our environmental services (housekeeping) part of the team because they ensure that the environment is clean and safe for the families, the precious babies and us. We also have Certified Child Life specialists who help the whole family cope during this very stressful time. Everyone on our team focuses on helping achieve the best possible outcome for the baby.”

Tyresha couldn’t agree more. “They were wonderful. They took their time to explain everything to me. Even though I worked there, you just become the patient. They eased my anxiety and it became a great family dynamic.”

Thanks to that NICU support, Tyresha and Kylar get to focus on the future. While he loves engineering and science, likes to build things and even write his own stories, one thing in particular always takes precedence.

“He is obsessed with football,” Tyresha said, adding that she didn’t know if he’d continue on as he gets older: “We’ll see. He’s a bit of a string bean.”

But when it comes to Kylar and his surprise plays, by now everyone knows to keep their eyes on the ball.

Read more about pregnancy and childbirth services at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital as well as information about and neonatal and perinatal services. You can also watch Kylar and his letter jacket at