Player Performs CPR on Referee Who Collapsed From Heart Attack During Basketball Game

“Myles, my heart literally goes out to you for saving my life. You are my hero,” the ref tells Inside Edition. Myles Copeland, a 25-year-old semi-pro player who is also a firefighter, jumped into action when John Sculli collapsed on the court mid-game.

There was more excitement on the basketball court than anyone bargained for, when the referee calling the game collapsed from a heart attack.

Thankfully, one of the players turned out to be a real lifesaver.

The game at the gym in upstate New York was in full swing when suddenly 61-year-old John Sculli wobbled before falling to the ground.

There was an eerie silence before one of the players, 25-year-old Myles Copeland, jumped into action. He ran to the stricken man’s side and furiously started performing chest compressions. 

A semi-pro basketball player, Copeland is also a firefighter with the Toledo Fire Department in Ohio

“I run toward emergencies. I don't run away from them,” Copeland said.

From the very first moment, Copeland knew the situation was dire.

“I just don't happen to feel a pulse. He's not breathing,” Copeland said.

In the stands was the ref's fiance, Donna Metz.

“I mean, he was gone. So my only hope was that they could bring him back,” Metz said.

For 30 minutes, Copeland worked to get Sculli’s heart going again. 

“It was an eternity. Watching your loved one’s chest get pumped like that, it’s terrorizing,” Metz said.

It was so traumatic to watch, Metz says she had to leave the arena.

“They finally came outside and said, ‘He's back. He's talking. He’s alert,’” Metz said.

After he came to, Copeland says that Sculli joked that he was going to go back in to ref the rest of the game.

“A young man, who's never traveled with the team, wasn't scheduled to be here, stepped in and saved that man's life,” a man told the crowd after the scary incident. 

Sculli went in for triple bypass surgery on Friday, but before he did, he shared a message for Copeland with Inside Edition. 

“Myles, my heart literally goes out to you for saving my life. You are my hero,” Sculli said.

The ref's family says he got through the surgery with flying colors.

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