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A basketball referee had a heart attack on the court. One of the players had the right training to save him.

Player saves referee's life after heart attack
Basketball player saves referee's life after heart attack 02:30

Jamestown, New York — Not many people get to return to the scene of their death. But earlier this month, John Sculli, of Rochester, New York, stepped back into the gym where his time expired.

Sculli, a basketball referee, was officiating a semi-pro game between the Jamestown Jackals and Toledo Glass City in June when he had the deadliest kind of heart attack. Doctors told his fiancée, Donna, that almost no one survives it. Four of his arteries were almost 100% blocked, including his left anterior descending artery, which when fully blocked is described as a "widow maker" because of the fatality risk. 

"I was in the right place at the right time," Sculli told CBS News. "I mean, that's why I'm here."

Within seconds of Sculli collapsing, a Toledo, Ohio, player named Myles Copeland rushed to the 61-year-old's side and started doing CPR. 

"I've never witnessed someone just collapse, but I knew what had to be done," Copeland told CBS News. 

Turns out, the Toledo forward is also a Toledo firefighter — a brand new one, just a year out of the academy.

"It's honestly one of the best feelings in the world," Copeland said of saving Sculli's life. 

Few moments will ever come close, except when CBS News invited Copeland to stop by the gym where it happened. Sculli and his fiancée were also there — and got to thank Copeland.

After quadruple bypass surgery, Sculli says he's feeling better than ever and looks forward to getting back on the court. But if he's reffing another one of Copeland's games, don't expect him to look the other way if he commits a foul. 

"I love him, but he's not getting a fraudulent call," Sculli said. 

Fine by Copeland, because he's already had the best game of his career. 

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