The Jamestown Jackals’ seventh season and the Basketball League’s fourth ended in a playoff loss last weekend.
Or maybe not.
Jody Marsh was there. Team nurse. Team attendant. Team aunt. Well, team aunt is an unofficial title.
Like the rest of Jamestown Jackals owner Kayla Crosby’s family, “She’s been with me from the very beginning” Crosby said.
Marsh was there on Saturday. By this we mean Jamestown Community College.
If you don’t know what now, the story has gone viral. It aired on ESPN, ABC, and TMZ, and other national outlets. What ended with Toledo Glass City holding off the Jamestown Jackals in a Basketball League (TBL) playoff game began completely unexpectedly.
With 28.6 seconds left in the first quarter of Game 2 of the TBL Upper Midwest Division playoffs, referee John Sculli, 62, collapsed. He was having a heart attack.
Part-time Toledo Glass City player Myles Copland wasn’t even supposed to be there. A career firefighter, Copland helped administer CPR until an ambulance arrived.
“I was behind the bench and heard the announcer say, ‘We have a referee down'” recalls Marsh. “I rushed to the scorer’s table, saw John down, I thought, did he fall, did he trip, did he collide with a player? But he was motionless. The referees waved me over to the field. Halfway through they were shouting to call 911. My phone was on the bench so I turned around and shouted for Kayla to call. Beside John, there was no pulse or breathing as a young man’s voice said, “I’m a firefighter,” and he began compressions. While we waited for the AED, there was a lot of commotion, but we were able to continue evaluating John… having the volunteer staff put up a wall around us, evaluating John again and again; at that point I started the compressions. The firefighters arrived as well as AllStar (Response), and we all continued to work as a team. John has become reactive.
“I can’t explain the relief of the whole team” Marsh added. “We all had jobs and we worked together. It was overwhelming. That’s when I realized the firefighter was Myles, a player from Toledo! At no time in the previous 30 minutes did I realize he was wearing a basketball uniform and had left the visitor’s bench. We will always have a connection for the rest of our lives. I have taken many CPR courses as a nurse, working for Warren Family Medicine for 33 years until our recent transition to Warren Medical Group; you never know when you will use your CPR training.
“John’s bottom line is what you work so hard for, but don’t always achieve,” Marsh said. “Myles and I received help from many volunteers, just like us. Your body goes into a rush of adrenaline like never before. It was truly a miracle with a power higher than us humans…as the onlookers fervently prayed.
Crosby believes in it more than anyone.
“The visiting team has a firefighter on their team who doesn’t normally travel with them,” said Crosby. “But because it was playoffs and they only had eight players, he was in the game. And my aunt who is a nurse and has been on the team since season one, her son just moved and she’s missed the last two games at home. She was considering not coming yesterday. … Both of them, with the help of our team chaplain, provided CPR. The gentleman running our timer ran in the hall and found a defibrillator. It was 20 minutes before the paramedics arrived. … He was gone. That was it. But they have a pulse. He remembered his name and he knew where he was. … When they asked him where he was going, he said, ‘Back to the game.’ John Sculli has refereed every season since we started in 2016. It’s a miracle he’s alive.
On Friday, Scully underwent quadruple bypass surgery.
“John is fine” said his fiancée, Donna Metz. “All the doctors and surgeons believe he will recover and be able to referee games again. We still have some difficulties to overcome, but his stubborn Italian personality shines through and he is ready to get strong again. He is getting a bit emotional when he talks about Myles. It was the scariest event ever. John doesn’t remember anything right before he collapsed until sometime in the emergency room at Jamestown Hospital. How do you thank someone? one that brings your loved one back after 30 minutes of grueling effort, never stopping, never giving up?He will always and forever be a hero to John, myself, his children and all who love him So many people praying, supporting and helping us through this ordeal. It is beautifully overwhelming and our gratitude and appreciation is endless.
TBL President David Magley said it best, “If you didn’t believe in God before, you must now.”
A season-ending win, for sure.