OXFORD — It was not the first time a bee stung Andy Malo. Like most kids, he had been on the painful end of an occasional encounter and was never affected. That changed Oct. 8 while warming up with his team for an Oxford Hills Middle School soccer game against visiting Lewiston.

Andrew Malo, a soccer player at Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris, is all smiles while being treated at a Norway hospital for a severe reaction to a bee sting during a game warm-up Oct. 8.

“We had no idea that Andy was allergic,” said his mother, Amanda Malo. “He’s had stings now and then but never any kind of reaction.”

Malo’s initial symptom was atypical: sudden, severe abdominal cramps.

“Cramping is not something I’ve seen with bee stings,” said his coach, Darryl Rugg, a full-time paramedic. “But I knew he needed attention. I asked another player, Paavo Johnson, to take him into the school to the nurse’s office to be checked out.”

But the nurse had left for the day.

Johnson, who plays on the eighth-grade team, called Rugg for help.

Within 10 minutes of being stung, Malo broke out in hives, his gums reddened and he developed a lump in his throat.

Seventh-grade soccer player Andy Malo, background left, is thankful for the help he received from Paavo Johnson, foreground,  and others after a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting sent him to the hospital on Oct. 8. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat Buy this Photo

Athletic Director Michele Wood gave Malo some Benadryl while Rugg dialed 911. Soon, Malo was on his way to Stephens Memorial Hospital with Wood at his side.

Rugg, who has coached for 10 years, said he had never seen abdominal pain from a bee sting, but it is an indicator of a severe reaction.

“I’ve seen sprains, breaks, all kinds of injuries,” he said, “but this was my first experience with anaphylactic shock. There are some important takeaways from the day. Bad reactions go beyond swelling and respiration. Our first-aid kits don’t normally have EpiPens, but after last week we are making sure they can be easily accessed.”

Once at the hospital, Malo suffered from nausea and his throat was closing up so he was given Prednisone, which is used for severe allergies. He was held for observation several hours before being released.

Rugg said Johnson “did a great job making sure Andy got immediate help.”

“We are very thankful to Paavo,” Amanda Malo said. “It was good that he was there for Andy. It really helped.”

Johnson downplayed his role.

“I knew it was serious,” he said. “But I was calm. I didn’t get too stressed. Coach is a paramedic and I knew he’d take care of Andy.”

Rugg gave Malo the winning game ball that night at the hospital.

Malo has since returned to the soccer field.

Andy Malo, foreground,  moves on the ball during a soccer game at Oxford Hills Middle School on Oct. 16. Also pictured is teammate Connor Doyle, right. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter Buy this Photo


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