“I love those guys.”
One minute South Carolina State basketball player Ty Solomon was sitting on the bench talking to his teammate. The next, he was lying on the court unconscious.
The senior guard for the Bulldogs had played the first three minutes, 58 seconds of the game against North Carolina State on Saturday before he was pulled by his coach. Solomon had no history of cardiac problems, and says he felt fine. Yet at some point between rehashing plays with his teammates and waking up minutes later on a stretcher, the young athlete’s heart stopped.
“One of my teammates asked me what had he messed up on on defense,” Solomon recalled to The News & Observer. “I don’t remember but I think I waved him off, you know, don’t worry about it. Then one of my other teammates looked at me and said ‘Are you OK?’ I remember putting my head in my hands and leaning over. Cause we were down by probably 15 (points). Just frustrated because of the stuff that was happening.”
Solomon can’t remember what happened next, but it’s a scene his teammates and spectators will never forget.
With Solomon flat on his back on the court, Tyler Long, a South Carolina State team trainer, began to administer CPR, while Wake County emergency medicine services personnel used an automated external defibrillator on him. According to The News & Observer, his teammates waved towels and jackets trying to cool him. Some cried, many prayed.
The crowd clapped when Solomon was transported off the court on a stretcher. At some point he finally regained consciousness and began breathing again.
“Tyler stepped in at the right time, I guess with CPR,” Solomon said from his bed in the intensive care unit at UNC Rex Healthcare’s N.C. Heart and Vascular Hospital. “Everybody else came in with the defibrillator and did what they had to do to revive me.”
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“I love those guys,” he added. “Perfect timing, I guess. I was glad it happened where it happened at because I could have been with one of my teammates in a car and it could have been a whole different situation.”
Doctors still aren’t sure what caused Solomon’s condition, and he’s currently going through a battery of tests to figure it out. In the meantime, he’s just happy to be alive.
“Right now, it’s just cherish every moment and don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “Life, basketball, sports, family. Anything. Not holding grudges with anyone if you can. Get over it as quickly as you can because you are not promised the next second.”