Teammates jump into action to help save basketball player who suddenly collapses during game

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Exclusive: Teammates jump into action to save basketball player
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In this Eyewitness News exclusive, teammates recall the harrowing moments when a player collapsed during a men's basketball game in New Jersey, and the efforts they took to help save him.

MONMOUTH JUNCTION, New Jersey (WABC) -- When a player suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a men's basketball game in New Jersey, his swift-acting teammates, which included a volunteer firefighter and athletic trainer, jumped in to help save his life.

Video shows 48-year-old Javier sitting in a chair on the sidelines after taking a break well into the game.

"He said he was feeling a bit off and it wasn't just his knees this time," teammate Raj Vora said.

The team didn't have enough players to take many turns resting.

"We're 40-plus. We're not spring chickens, so sometimes we want to sit and rest," Vora said. "Our buddy wanted to sit and that's why we thought he was joking when he fell over, and it was not a joke."

The video shows Javier collapse to the floor.

"He fell over, we ran over right away, as we're running over, we asked 911 to be called right away," said teammate and volunteer fireman Cheng-Yu Lee. "His body was gasping for air, but there was no control of his body at all."

South Brunswick High School has AED machines mounted in several areas of the school. The video shows Vora run to one in the hall just feet away. The pads were on their friend less than a minute after he collapsed. South Brunswick Police Officer Sean Nally arrived seconds later.

"So the first thing that I did was I went and grabbed the oxygen, and as I was going to grab the oxygen I saw that he had completely stopped breathing, so then I went over and started to do compressions," Nally said.

All that work helped keep Javier alive until EMTs arrived and took over, bringing him back from a life-threatening heart rhythm, or V-Fib (ventricular fibrillation).

The men say this incident highlights the need for everyone to know CPR.

"I will be taking a class, I'll tell you that much," Vora said.

Javier, who's still recovering in the hospital, released a statement about his 40-plus teammates saying in part, that it's because of them, Officer Nally and EMTS that he gets to continue his life and be a husband to his wife and father to his daughter.


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