‘They Saved My Life': Referee Who Suffered Heart Attack During Game

A Broward referee dropped to the ground and went into cardiac arrest during a soccer game last week at Franklin Academy. Thanks to the help of the coach and parents, he survived to tell the tale.

"They helped save my life really. Without this, I pass away," said Jorge Silva with the Referee Association of Broward County.

Silva is thankful for a second chance at life. He almost died after suffering a massive heart attack during a boy's soccer game between Franklin and Pines Charter School.

"About 11 minutes into the game, the referee fell to the ground and went into full cardiac arrest," said Coach Jill Smith.

Silva has been a devoted referee for 15 years. He works out and is active, so he said he didn't see this coming.

"I don't remember nothing really, you know, because my vision was blind," Silva said.

One of soccer coaches didn't skip a beat and sprang into action.

"I immediately went onto the field as soon as he dropped. I directed the coach of Pines Charter to call 911 and I began to assess the situation," Smith said.

"I definitely think she's a hero. If she had not provided the CPR that she did, Mr. Silva would more than likely not be alive," said Chris Carnaggie, Athletic Director at Franklin.

Rescue personnel was able to revive him and Silva was rushed to the hospital. He was stabilized and then given a pacemaker.

The coach saved Silva from dying, but said she's no hero, "I hear that's what everyone says. I reacted to the situation. I was in the right place at the right time and I just did what I needed to do and what I would want anybody else to do for me or somebody that I cared about."

Silva said he is just immensely grateful, "Thank you very much to the people who helped me. At this moment, I appreciate everybody for doing this."

Silva is now recovering at home with his wife. The 74-year-old has a passion for the sport and wants to keep his referee career going strong.

He is still waiting to get the official all clear from his doctors but he's hoping that he can get back to refereeing the game that he loves so much.

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