Stop The Clock, Start A Heart: Off-Duty Firefighter Saves Basketball Referee’s Life.

When your job is saving lives, you’re never really off-duty.

That’s the reality for first responders like Myles Copeland, a firefighter with The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department in Ohio. During emergencies, Myles’ training kicks in instinctively, no matter what else he happens to be doing at the time.

One Saturday in June, Myles finished up a 24-hour shift and prepared to spend the next two days dedicating himself to his other passion, playing semi-pro basketball with the Toledo Glass City Basketball League. The team was traveling to New York for a playoff game against the Jamestown Jackals.

Myles was playing when, during the end of the first quarter, referee John Sculli suddenly collapsed onto the court. Dramatic video shows players stopping in their tracks. Myles was among the first people to rush to John’s side. He immediately went into firefighter mode and began checking for vital signs.

“It was kind of instinctual. It surprised me how quick I was able to switch into that mode, especially being in a basketball game,” Myles 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.”

“He was leaving us, he was changing colors, his breathing was just about out,” recalled president of The Basketball League David Magley, who witnessed the traumatic moment. “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.'”

Myles did chest compressions on John for more than 10 minutes. Incredibly, the ref responded and regained consciousness. He was even joking about refereeing the second half of the game when paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital!

John later had triple bypass surgery to relieve a blockage. He is expected to make a full recovery, all thanks to Myles’ quick action. If they’d waited the 25 minutes for help to arrive, John likely would not have made it.

“He was calm, he’s everything that’s good about our players, he’s everything that’s good about society,” David stated.

Though authorities and onlookers were quick to praise Myles for his heroism, he remains modest and humble.

“It was just kind of divine timing that I was there in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Myles says this was “a common emergency” and urges people to learn CPR. Excellent advice from someone who never fails to run towards danger, not away!

Watch the incredible video of Myles saving John below, and be sure to share.

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