IOWA -- Bernie Rangel, a longtime referee, was officiating a middle school basketball game between Ballard and Perry when it quickly turned into a life-or-death situation.
Rangel experienced a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the court. But thanks to the heroics of parents in the stands, Rangel is alive today.
At least three nurses, a police sergeant, and an emergency medical technician (EMT) were all in the stands watching their sons play when they raced onto the court.
They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock Rangel’s heart back beating.
On Friday night, Rangel had the opportunity to thank those who saved his life.
“I thank you very much. No greater gift can I receive than having this bestowed on me to get another chance on life again. Thank you,” said Rangel.
Rangel says he is forever grateful for everyone who played a role in saving his life. After the cardiac arrest, he was told he needed to have surgery to put a defibrillator in his heart, but doctors say with time he should be able to ref again.
His lifesavers had another surprise for him. They gifted him a new referee uniform to replace his old one which was damaged during the life-saving process.
They all hope to see him back on the court refereeing games soon.