Pro Basketball Player, Firefighter Saves Ref’s Life In Middle Of Game
Pro basketball player Myles Copeland saved a referee's life by using CPR
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A pro basketball player is being credited with saving the life of a referee who collapsed on the court during a game last week.

John Sculli was refereeing a game between Toledo Glass City and the Jamestown Jackals in The Basketball League, an 30-team minor league when he collapsed on the court. He was unresponsive, and one competitor, Myles Copeland, sprang into action.

“I assessed the situation, trying to see what I could do to fix the problem,” Copeland told 13ABC. “He didn’t have a pulse, he wasn’t breathing so I instantly started CPR — what I was trained to do.”

Copeland administered CPR until paramedics arrived, and is believed to have saved Sulli’s life. The stricken ref is set to have heart surgery next week.

“It was kind of instinctual. It surprised me how quick I was able to switch into that mode, especially being in a basketball game,” Copeland, who works as a firefighter for Toledo Fire & Rescue, told ESPN. “But with being a firefighter, when you’re off the job, you’re really not off the job. You still got to keep an eye out for the community and what’s going on around you.”

The game was a playoff contest in the league’s Upper Midwest Region, and played in New York. Glass City had advanced after a 16-8 regular season, and Copeland, who plays center, drove to New York right after a 24-hour shift at the firehouse back home.

League President David Magley told 13ABC he was horrified when he saw Sculli go down, then relieved when he saw Copeland take charge.

“He was leaving us, he was changing colors, his breathing was just about out,” said Magley. “Then Myles comes sprinting off the court and he starts pumping on his chest, and I’m looking up thinking who’s this guy, where’d he come from? And then I noticed he had a uniform on and I realized this was one of our players. Myles said, ‘It’s okay, I’m a fireman.’”

Copeland played one year of college ball at tiny Sienna Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where he was a 6-foot, 5-inch forward. Now, he is hoping his actions spur others to get CPR training.

“More people need to learn CPR!” he tweeted. “Heart disease is the #1 leading cause of death. And an event like this could happen anywhere, to anyone, at anytime. Step up your game and get CPR certified. You could be a hero for someone too.”

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