Man Comes Back From "Dead" During HS Football Game

Packed Stadium Heard It All On P.A.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Man was announcing a football game when the attack happened. (Published Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010)

    Marshall Tames, your heart just stopped beating at a football game and was restarted by coaches and a doctor while the whole stadium heard this drama on a public address system, and you've been rushed to the hospital for emergency bypass surgery -- what's on your mind?

    "Believe it or not the first thing I said when I was conscious was 'who won the game?', " said the Erasmus Hall High School athletic director.

    Tames was announcing the playoff matching Erasmus against DeWitt Clinton High School when he collapsed in a booth at the top of the stands in Midwood, Brooklyn.

    "It was 8-8, the score. They had just tied it up and then the next thing I remember I was on the floor," said Tames Monday in an exclusive interview with NBCNewYork in his room at Maimonides Medical Center.

    With no history of family heart disease, Tames had ignored two days of back pain and indigestion that Maimonides surgeons say could be related to the heart attack that happened just before halftime about 1:00 p.m. Saturday.

    Asked if what happened could be described to a lay person as Tames "being dead and then he wasn't," Maimonides' cardiac surgery chief Dr. Greg Ribakove said, "exactly."

    "That's right," agreed Dr. Mikhail Vaynblat, who led the surgical team that performed the emergency triple bypass Sunday morning.

    When Tames fell, over the public address microphone he'd been using to announce the game stayed on. So 2000 people at the game heard what followed.

    "We cleared the area, shocked him (with a defibrillator), and he came right back," said Chris Miccio, an assistant football coach who'd also been in the booth.

    "You could hear Coach Miccio yelling 'clear, clear, it's about to give a shock' through the entire stands," said Joshua Rubin, another assistant coach.

    Defibrillators have been required at all Public School Athletic League football games for five years. Marshall Tames was the official responsible for ensuring the equipment that would be critical to saving his own life was supplied for Saturday's game.

    Tames, appearing upbeat and smiling in his hospital gown during a 15 minute interview Monday, says he wants to go back to work. Amazingly his doctors believe that will be possible with no restrictions in about six weeks.

    The athletic director says he saw no flashes of light while he was temporarily in between this world and the one beyond.

    "The next thing I remember is hearing sirens and then they were carrying me down the stadium steps which are really steep. I asked them not to drop me," he said.

    As for the answer to his first post-death question, about the score, Erasmus lost the game 20-16 and was eliminated from the PSAL playoffs.

    "They said, 'We didn't do it for the Gipper.' You remember that movie -- we're going to do one for the Gipper. They didn't win it for the Gipper," said the man who at least survived to contemplate fresh hope next season.