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Toledo basketball player saves referee's life following on-court collapse

Myles Copeland and his team were playing in New York when an official collapsed on the court. Copeland, an off-duty firefighter, performed CPR, saving his life.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo Glass City professional basketball team took on the Jamestown Jackals Saturday night, when suddenly, an official fell to the floor. 

Toledo player Myles Copeland is a Toledo firefighter, and quickly jumped in to action.

"I ran over to him, checked if he was OK, checked his pulse and his breathing and I didn't feel anything so, I instantly started CPR," the 2015 St. John's graduate said.

Copeland and another referee started performing compressions until local first responders arrived to take referee John Sculli to the hospital.

Sculli's fiance, Donna Metz, was in the stands. 

Metz said Sculli has been officiating sports for nearly 40 years. The two have been together for five years, traveling together for games. 

Metz said the entire ordeal was a scary one.

"I'm a nurse too, but I was not a nurse that time. There was nothing nurse in me when that was going on," she said.

Sculli was awake and alert by the time he left the gym. Metz said he asked to return to the court to officiate the game, but EMTs quickly dismissed the idea. 

He was transported to a hospital nearby, before eventually transferring to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Erie. Metz said doctors were shocked by his quick recovery.

"There has been not one EMT, one ED doctor that has not said it is a miracle that he is alive today," Metz said.

Copeland doesn't believe he's a hero; it was just something he was supposed to do.

"Everyone since then has been calling me a hero. It just doesn't click in my mind that I'm a hero. It's just a small act that I perform. (It) feels like I just did CPR another day on the job," Copeland said.

But, to hear Metz describe it, it was so much more than that.

"[John] said today, 'Myles is his hero.' There is such a deep knowledge that without Myles, that I wouldn't still have him," Metz said.

Metz said Sculli has an undisclosed heart condition, and is set to have surgery. She said he will likely take the summer off from officiating, but he hopes to be back at games later this year.

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