PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Crowd members at a local high school basketball game were the ones calling the shots after a referee suffered a heart attack.

The ref, 53-year-old Tom Pyzewski, suffered the heart attack in the middle of the Neshannock-Laurel girls’ basketball game on Feb. 5.

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“My last memory is standing under the hoop, thinking I’m going to pass out,” he said. “The next thing, I woke up and they were all around me.”

Pyzewski hit the floor, but luckily for him, in the stands to cheer on their kids were a doctor and three nurses.

“I was having CPR, then they shocked me,” said Pyzewski. “Then I went out again and they shocked me a third time.”

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He says up until Feb. 5, his biggest health issues had been acid reflex and asthma. But clogged arteries were to blame for what happened at the game. And before the night was over, he was flown to AGH and doctors inserted two stents.

He’s feeling better now and trying to go back and thank all of the people he says that literally saved his life.

“I said who gave me CPR? My chest was hurting,” said Pyzewski. “And the lady, she went, they worked on me pretty good. They said I had no pulse.”

Pyzweski is still taking it slow. He hasn’t returned to work yet, recuperating at home.

But he says he can’t wait to get back to reffing games again. Only now, he says he’ll be going back with a different outlook on life — and people.

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland