What started for one Ohio resident as a lunchtime hockey game became a true miracle on the ice.
On Jan. 13, Brandon Miller stepped into the rink for a noontime pick-up game at Thornton Park in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He was trailing a play when he fell on the ice, according to WEWS-TV.
Then, he skated to the center of the rink, and fell again.
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“I remember kind of having a fall, and I thought my skates got out from under me doing a crossover,” he said. “I do remember laying down on the ice and seeing people coming up and pulling equipment.”
Unbeknownst to Miller, a few of his pick-up teammates — relative strangers — were more than just qualified athletes: They were medical professionals, two doctors and one paramedic.
When the players saw their teammate fall, they knew it was serious.
The first one out onto the ice was paramedic Matt Urie. Then Dr. Mike Fellenbaum, a third-year emergency room resident at the nearby University Hospitals, rushed out to help. The team’s goalie, Dr. Venkatesh Kambhampati, an emergency room doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, joined them, too.
“We just sort of sprung into action,” said Fellenbuam, who immediately started chest compressions.
Once the three medical professionals were in the rink together, they began taking turns performing CPR on Miller while other players skated off the ice to retrieve an automated external defibrillator in the lobby of the rink.
“I remember doing CPR and getting the AED as well skated out to us”, recalled Kambhampati. “Thankfully everything was kind of set up well and we were able to get him a shock and then the medics came.”
As it turns out, it’s nothing short of miraculous Miller happened to be on a team full of medical professionals when he went down: He had gone into cardiac arrest and suffered a heart attack.
Once he was transported to the hospital, he went into surgery for a 90% blocked artery. And because of the quick-acting good Samaritans on his team, doctors said there was no permanent damage done to his heart.
Now, Miller is feeling great, recovering well, and hoping to be back on the ice by April.
He reunited Friday with the three men who very likely saved his life. He was able to watch the video footage of their harrowing action, and said he’s still blown away by how quickly they stepped in to help.
“It blows my mind how lucky it happened where it did,” he said.
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