A high school football game quickly went from fun to frightening when one of the referees collapsed on the field from a heart attack.
It happened last Friday night. Seffner Christian Academy had just scored in the 3rd quarter. They were ready to kick off to Windemere Prep, when the game turned into a life-and-death situation.
At the top of the field, Referee Robert Singer staggered and then collapsed. Another ref stopped the game and rushed over to Singer.
The video shows coaches motioning for the ambulance to come over. Thankfully, there is an ambulance at every game.
Wyatt Brown, a tight end at Seffner Christian, saw people running over.
"I heard people start yelling 'Get the paramedics'. I was thinking what's going on and I looked around and I saw him lying on the ground over there," Brown said.
Some of the players rushed over to the ambulance to get their attention. Wyatt says all they could do was wait in the end zone, and pray.
"It was scary in the fact that this man could die," he said.
Singer had had a heart attack. Seffner Christian Academy's Athletic Director Andy Holmes rushed over to the ref.
"It was pretty scary. He lost consciousness over there, so they're performing CPR, They got the AED out, they were shocking him. It was like sheer terror. It seemed like it went on forever where he wasn't breathing. They didn't have a heartbeat. I was afraid he was going to die," Holmes said.
The ambulance took Singer to the hospital. We spoke to him from his hospital bed. He said he's feeling better after doctors put a stent in.
"It's really nice people are so concerned about me," he said. Singer then joked, " I should have given myself a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, for delay of game."
The game was delayed about half an hour, from the time he collapsed, to when he was rushed to the hospital.
At their team meeting on Monday, Seffner Christian players were still stunned at what they witnessed.
Quarterback Joe Hagel said it was hard to continue playing.
"It is just a game. A human life is more important. Anything can happen at any moment in time. You never know," he said.
Robert Singer says he didn't feel anything before he collapsed. He said he has no history of heart problems.
Holmes says he recognized Singer from other games he refereed.
"It sounds like he's taking it in stride, that he cares about the game and the kids," he said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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