Firefighter, AD Save Ref Having Heart Attack

Andy Berg Headshot

An off-duty firefighter and the Highland High School (Idaho) athletic director were honored earlier this month by the American Red Cross for saving the life of a basketball referee who was having a heart attack on the court.

On Jan 10, Brian Underwood was refereeing a ninth-grade girls' basketball game when he collapsed.

"He actually fell on the court," Pocatello firefighter Jake Liday told the Pocatello NBC affiliate. "It was obvious that he was having some sort of medical problem and was unconscious immediately."

Highland’s athletic director, Keith Forkin, grabbed an AED unit and shocked Underwood, at which point Underwood started to breathe again.

"The important thing is we had the right people there and the right equipment there," Forkin said.

Underwood, who is recovering, was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors found he had a blocked artery. They said he was lucky to have survived.

Forkin and Liday were honored by the American Red Cross as East Idaho Real Heroes during a luncheon earlier this month.

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