Wheeling police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 5:26 p.m. Thursday October 19, 2017 to save the life of a referee from Downers Grove, who collapsed on the middle field during a high school football game. A police officer was already on the scene, and Wheeling firefighter/paramedics were also nearby standing by for the football game.
The police officer was Wheeling Police Officer Rick Richardson, who is also an assistant coach for the Wheeling High School junior varsity team. Richardson ran to the 55-year-old referee’s side when he fell to the ground after suffering an apparent heart attack, police said.
Richardson performed CPR while coach Joe Wolinski got an automated external defibrillator (AED), Deputy Chief Todd Wolff said. One shock from the defibrillator restarted the man’s heart, Wolff said.
A paramedic crew standing by for the athletic events called for an ambulance and informed the responding crews that CPR was in progress on the middle field on the 40 yard line.
A fire engine crew was also on the street nearby, and met the other crews on the scene.
“By the time the ambulance got there, he had his eyes open and was talking,” Wolff said.
The referee was transported to Glenbrook Hospital for treatment. A third crewmember from the fire engine assisted the crew on the ambulance, working Advanced Life Support during transport to the hospital.
The police department is nominating Richardson for a lifesaving award, Deputy Chief Todd Wolff said.
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