Angels and an AED: Referee survives dropping dead on the field

Alabama News

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — There were some scary moments on the soccer field for Mobile referee, Buddy Jaet. On a sweltering day in August, he dropped dead in the middle of a girl’s soccer game. His heart stopped, and he fell. The whole incident was caught on camera.

“There was a half-second of lightheadedness. No real warnings, no pain, no dizziness,” Jaet said.

Fortunately for Jaet, several parents on the sidelines were in the medical field. Emergency Room Physician, Dr. Stacy Upshaw, along with a paramedic and a nurse ran out onto the field and administered CPR. Jaet got a pulse back.

“Within thirty seconds, several people there familiar with CPR started giving chest compressions, ” Dr. Upshaw said.

Jaet’s heart stopped again, and Dr. Upshaw was hoping an AED (automated external defibrillator) was nearby. One was.

Jeff Picone was one field over at the Mobile Soccer Complex. He was in town with his wife and son from Louisiana. He said someone came running to ask if anyone had an AED.

“My wife looked at me and said. ‘Do you have the AED?’ and I said, ‘Yes!’ I took off running in the opposite direction to the car.”

He had the AED with him because his son had been diagnosed with a heart condition. While he learned that the condition was no longer life-threatening, he never traveled without the AED….just in case.

“The doctor told me, ‘Hold onto that thing because you never know, you are probably going to use that on someone else.’ I sure did. It’s amazing. I can’t believe we actually had it. We had just put it in the car.”

‘That golden hour. If we had not had the stars align, I wouldn’t be here now,” Jaet added.

Jaet’s heart was shocked back into rhythm. He later learned that he had to be shocked again in the ambulance because his heart stopped a third time.

He had six stints put in, but is now on the mend. He would like to return to being a referee, but he isn’t sure if his doctor will allow him to do that just yet.

“Really, really grateful. I believe there is a higher power. I am not going to waste a second chance. I want to give back to the game that has given to me for years. I will be here to mentor referees, work games if I can, and serve this wonderful game.”

Jaet is also encouraging sports teams to purchase an AED for emergencies. A quick google search showed AED’s start at about $1200.

For more information about AED’s click here.
Even though Buddy did not follow the roadmap of a heart attack, here are the warning signs.


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