Toledo basketball player saves referee’s life by performing CPR on him during game


Toledo basketball player – who is a firefighter by day – saves life of referee by performing CPR on him after he collapses mid-game

  • Myles Copeland, 25, performed CPR on a referee at a basketball game 
  • Referee John Sculli collapsed during the game in New York on June 11
  • Copeland is a basketball player with the Glass City Basketball Club
  • He’s also a firefighter with the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department 
  • Officials said that Copeland’s actions saved Sculli’s life. 

A Toledo basketball player – who is a firefighter by day – sprang into action to perform CPR on a referee who collapsed in the middle of a playoff game. 

Myles Copeland, 25, wrapped up a 24-hour shift as a firefighter in Toledo, Ohio and drove to New York on June 11 to play with his team the Toledo Glass City of The Basketball League for a playoff game against the Jamestown Jacks.

During the game, Copeland saw the referee John Sculli collapse onto the court and raced over to help. 

 ‘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 on 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 performed CPR for 10 minutes on the unresponsive referee which ultimately helped save his life. 

The moment a Toledo basketball player - who is a firefighter by day - sprang into action to perform CPR on a referee who collapsed in the middle of a playoff game - and saved his life

The moment a Toledo basketball player – who is a firefighter by day – sprang into action to perform CPR on a referee who collapsed in the middle of a playoff game – and saved his life

Myles Copeland, 25, wrapped up a 24-hour shift as a firefighter in Toledo, Ohio and drove to New York on June 11 to play with his team the Toledo Glass City of The Basketball League

Myles Copeland, 25, wrapped up a 24-hour shift as a firefighter in Toledo, Ohio and drove to New York on June 11 to play with his team the Toledo Glass City of The Basketball League

Referee John Sculli collapsed during the basketball game last week and Copeland, who has training, sprang into action to perform CPR and save his life

Referee John Sculli collapsed during the basketball game last week and Copeland, who has training, sprang into action to perform CPR and save his life

Copeland told ESPN that he started administering CPR when he didn’t feel a pulse and saw that Sculli wasn’t breathing. 

The basketball player administered CPR for 10 minutes until paramedics arrived.  

Sculli was alert and talking by the time he wheeled out on a stretcher and rushed to a nearby hospital. 

‘It was just kind of divine timing that I was there in the right place at the right time,’ Copeland said. 

Copeland and his team then went on to win the playoff game 96-93.  They will play the Kokomo Bobcats on Thursday in Indiana where the Basketball League plans to honor Copeland ahead of that game.

Copeland played Division III college basketball at Trine University in Indiana, ESPN reported, adding that this is his first season playing with The Basketball League

Copeland played Division III college basketball at Trine University in Indiana, ESPN reported, adding that this is his first season playing with The Basketball League

‘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,’ he added. ‘It was just divine timing.’

Officials said that Copeland’s actions helped save Sculli’s life. Witnesses told local news outlets that it was nothing short of a miracle.

But for Copeland, he said it was just another day on the job.  

‘It’s a common emergency and everyone should at least know their way around CPR, it can happen to anyone,’ Copeland said. 

‘I didn’t feel like I went out of my way to do anything special. It’s just what I was put here to do. God was able to work through me. I feel like other people see me differently as a hero, but I don’t see myself any different.’ 

Copeland played Division III college basketball at Trine University in Indiana, ESPN reported, adding that this is his first season playing with The Basketball League. 

Sculli, who has been a referee for 40 years, is scheduled to have heart surgery this week to fix a blockage that caused him to collapse, ESPN reported. 

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