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Quick-thinking helps save life of referee in cardiac arrest; players come together to pray

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Hatcher)

CHATHAM, Va. (WSET) -- A referee suffered two cardiac arrests while working a boy's basketball game at Chatham High School Friday, but it's what happened after that has a lot of people talking.

First responders, coaches, and those in the stands came to referee Mark Strosnider's aid and a defibrillator inside the gym helped them save his life.

It was the regional tournament opener Friday night; Chatham against Floyd County.

Several minutes in, it took a turn for the worse, according to athletic trainer Aaron Taylor.

"I heard some commotion off to my right so I looked and it was a referee falling against the wall, kinda hit a door," Taylor said.

Taylor said Strosnider, a referee with more than 20 years of experience, was reffing the game when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest, twice.

Chatham Coach Charles Warren said they began doing CPR and immediately called 911.

"Somebody over there had screamed 'do we have an AED?' and he was able to come off the stands and grab this and bring it over," said Coach Warren. "Aaron Taylor had instructed for me to remove the shirt so we could try to use the AED which I really believed helped us in our efforts in saving his life."

This was the first time Taylor or Warren was ever in this type of situation, but their fast action saved a life.

"I think that's probably what makes it more amazing is that a lot of people that don't really know each other came together to help him," Taylor added.

Strosnider is recovering at Lynchburg General Hospital and is expected to have surgery Tuesday.

After Strosnider was taken away from the game in an ambulance, Chatham's principal asked for a moment of silence and prayer. Parents at the game said it was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop.

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