Press "Enter" to skip to content

The referee who survived a heart attack and reunited with the player he saved returned to the field

Ref meets the player whose life he saved

The basketball referee meets the player who saved his life after a heart attack on the court


Not many people have been able to return to the place of their death, but John Sculley was able to return directly to the gymnasium where he died – and meet the man who saved his life.

Schooley, the basketball referee, was officiating a semi-pro game between the Jamestown Jackals and Toledo Glass City in June 2022 when he suddenly had a “widow maker” heart attack – so named because few people survive such an event.

Doctors even told his fiancée, Donna, that almost no one comes from the Widow Makers.

“It’s one percent,” said Donna.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Sculley said. “I mean, that’s why I’m here.”

Within seconds of his collapse, a Toledo player named Miles Copeland rushed to his side and began performing CPR. Copeland, a forward on the team, was also a Toledo firefighter after only a year out of the academy and knew exactly what to do when Schooley went down.

“Not only did I watch someone collapse, but I knew what had to be done,” Copeland said.

Knowing he helped save Scully’s life, Copeland said, “is honestly one of the best feelings in the world.”

When Scully returned to the ill-fated gymnasium, Copeland was invited to stop by. It was the first time the pair had met since the day of Schooley’s breakdown.

From that day on, Schooley underwent quadruple bypass surgery and returned to refereeing. He’s managed nearly 50 games this season and looks nothing worse than wear – all thanks to Copeland, who made the ultimate Cinderella story come true.

To get in touch with On the Road, or to submit a story idea, email us: [email protected]



Spread the love