A potentially life-threatening incident transformed into a teaching moment for a Virginia high school after a referee suffered two heart attacks while presiding over a basketball game.
The referee, Mark Strosnider, was calling the regional tournament opener for the Chatham High School boys basketball team when he took a turn for the worst, prompting quick-thinking first responders, coaches and people in the stands to spring into action.
“I heard some commotion off to my right so I looked and it was a referee falling against the wall,” Aaron Taylor, the school’s athletic trainer, told WJLA.
Taylor, along with basketball coach Charles Warren, administered first aid and used a defibrillator to help save Strosnider’s life.
“Aaron Taylor had instructed for me to remove the shirt so we could try to use the AED which I really believed helped us in our efforts in saving his life,” Warren said.
A referee is recovering after suffering two cardiac arrests while reffing the Chatham and Floyd County men's basketball game Friday. pic.twitter.com/NT4foq99Z4
— Courtny Jodon (@CourtnyJodonTV) February 19, 2018
After Strosnider was transported to a local hospital, the players did something surprising. When school principal Randy Foster asked for a moment of silence to pray for him, the players from both teams formed a circle at half court, holding hands and bowing in prayer.
I have a deep, deep respect for Principal Randy Foster at Chatham High School. We had a ref fall ill tonight at the game…
Parent Leslie Hileman Hatcher wrote on Facebook that you could “hear a pin drop in the gym” and that she has a “deep, deep respect” for Foster for inspiring such a moment from the students.
The prayers must have worked, because Taylor is currently recovering at the hospital after he received surgery on Tuesday.