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Athletic trainers, nurses in stands save referee who collapsed on soccer field

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Ramon Gil went in for an emergency triple bypass surgery after collapsing on the field during an Airport High School soccer game. Ramon Gil went in for an emergency triple bypass surgery after collapsing on the field during an Airport High School soccer game.
WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It could have been a very different outcome at an Airport High School soccer game last month when one of the game's referees collapsed.

Ramon Gil was ready for the Airport High lady Eagles' scrimmage.

"I was feeling normal as usual," said Gil. "Got ready for the game, put my stuff in the bag, and went out to the game."

Gil also said he felt nothing out of the ordinary that day.

"The last thing I remember, there was a scramble toward the opposing side of the field and so I had to take off, turn on the fire burners, so to speak, to keep up with the girls and they told me I fell mid-field, so I only ran about 25 yards, collapsed," said Gil.

A referee for 11 years and a Latin dance instructor, Gil considered himself to be in great shape. But none of that mattered that day.

Certified athletic trainer and University of South Carolina graduate student Shea deWeber rushed onto the field from the sidelines.

"We resuscitated him using CPR, we put the AED on him, and delivered one shock," said deWeber. "After that, his vitals came back and he seemed to be stable until EMS arrived."

"Everybody sees us taping ankles and looking at a shoulder during a football game. What they don't see is that we are educated to help out in emergency situations," said head athletic trainer Karen Edwards.

deWeber acted immediately, relying on his training. Several USC undergrads assisted and two nurses who were sitting in the stands came to his aide.

"I didn't do anything special, anything different than any other athletic trainer would have done in my situation," said deWeber.

Gil is grateful.

"There was one artery 100 percent blocked, there was another one, 90 percent blocked and another one was 75 percent blocked," said Gil.

Four days later, he had a triple bypass.

"They said there was really nothing I could have done to prevented it, that it was genetics," said Gil.

A soccer ball signed by the team now serves as a reminder of what could have been.

"I really appreciate the fact that I have another chance to do something in life," said Gil. "I was gone. There was 15 minutes, no heartbeat. If there hadn't been an AED, the defibrillator on the field, you wouldn't be able to talk to me today. I wouldn't be here."

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