Hero basketball player performs CPR to referee who suffered heart attack during game


  • An officiating referee suddenly suffers a heart attack while in the middle of a basketball game.
  • One of the players sprung to action and immediately performed chest compressions on the fallen referee.
  • Referee is revived after more than 30 minutes of pumping, saving him from death.

Basketball games are a hotbed of emotions.  The air is thick with excitement as everyone roots out for their team.   But on this one night in upstate New York, the referee calling the game suddenly collapses on the court and everyone goes still and silent. John Sculli, 61, suffered a heart attack. 

From the court, semi-pro basketball player Myles Copeland jumped into action and immediately performed chest compressions.  Copeland, 25, aside from shooting hoops, is also a firefighter at the Toledo Fire Department in Ohio and is no stranger to emergencies. Copeland said, “I run toward emergencies. I don’t run away from them.”

Copeland said that the situation was serious as he could not feel Sculli’s pulse and was not breathing.  But he continued working for more than 30 minutes on Sculli’s heart until he could get it going again.

Watching in terror from the stands was Sculli’s fiancé, Donna Metz. She said, “I mean, he was gone. So, my only hope was that they could bring him back. It was an eternity. Watching your loved one’s chest get pumped like that, it’s terrorizing,” Metz said.

She had to leave the arena but then after 30 minutes of pumping, they told her that Sculli was back, was talking and was alert.  Sculli even joked that he would continue to ref the game.

Photo Credit: Storyful News & Weather (YouTube)

After the incident, Sculli had a triple bypass surgery. His family said he aced the procedure.

Before going under the knife, Sculli told Inside Edition his message for Copeland. “Myles, my heart literally goes out to you for saving my life. You are my hero.”

For someone who was not even scheduled to play in that game and who traveled for the first time with the team, his presence was an indication that he was meant to be there— as an angel in a basketball jersey. 

Source: Inside Edition


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