Toledo Firefighter Saves Referee’s Life During Playoff Basketball Game

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“Toledo firefighter saves someone’s life.” In many ways, that could have been the headline for this story.

But this story is unique and heroic at the same time. Fresh off working a 24-hour shift this past weekend as a firefighter, Myles Copeland found himself in New York for his other job: a player for the Toledo Glass City of The Basketball League. Toledo was in town to play the Jamestown Jackals in a playoff game.

But you never know when duty calls. And for Copeland, it did during the game. Nearing the end of the first quarter of Saturday’s game, referee John Sculli collapsed on the court and was unresponsive. The incident happened across from Toledo’s bench, which alerted Copeland to go into firefighter mode.

Copeland checked Sculli’s vitals and eventually began administering CPR until paramedics arrived, per ESPN. His quick response and heroics helped save Sculli’s life, who is now scheduled to have heart surgery this week.

Photo courtesy of TMZ Sports.

“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 told ESPN Wednesday. “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.”

Copeland wasn’t done, however, after saving Sculli’s life. After all, he had another job to tend to. Copeland and co. rallied to defeat Jamestown to advance. They play the Kokomo Bobcats Thursday in the conference semifinals, where The Basketball League plans to honor Copeland before the game.

“A guy like this deserves to be celebrated,” league president David Magley told ESPN. “Not just because he saved his life but the humility with which he carried himself afterwards. He’s the kind of person that’s our hero because he stepped up when he needed to and he won’t take any of the credit himself. It was just divine timing.”

Photo courtesy of the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department.

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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