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Myles Copeland, a player for Toledo Glass City of The Basketball League who also works as a firefighter, helped save the life of referee John Sculli after he had collapsed on the court during a playoff game this past weekend.
According to ESPN’s Jamal Collier, Copeland checked Sculli’s vitals and began administering CPR after he didn’t feel a pulse or see him breathing while they waited for paramedics to arrive.
“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 said. “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.”
Sculli is set to undergo heart surgery this week to address a blockage that caused him to pass out, and he’s expected to return to refereeing by next season.
Not only did Copeland help save a life, but he also helped save his team from elimination as Toledo rallied to win Saturday. The team followed with another victory Sunday to advance to Thursday’s conference semifinal game against the Kokomo Bobcats. The Basketball League will honor Copeland prior to the game.
“A guy like this deserves to be celebrated,” league president David Magley said. “Not just because he saved his life but the humility with which he carried himself afterwards.”
Copeland is in his first year in The Basketball League and has also been a firefighter for a little over a year. The 25-year-old works shifts that last 24 hours, and he only practices with his team or plays in games during his off days. He had worked a 24-hour shift right before Saturday’s playoff game.
“Ever since then, people just, like, look at me. They just have a different feeling about me, like you’re a hero,” Copeland said. “It’s been said to me so much, but still it’s hard to have that click in my mind because I feel like I was just doing another deed, another thing that I was supposed to do. … I feel like other people see me differently as a hero, but I don’t see myself any different.”