“I love to play basketball. I love to watch basketball. I love to study basketball.”
Tony Gilliard is passionate about the game he loves and is regular at the pickup games. A security video, though, captured what could've been his last game.
“I got a rebound, I went down the court, then I went to the basket, made a lay-up, jogged back down the court,” Gilliard recalls.
Gilliard doesn't remember what happened next, but the video shows it all. Gilliard stops and collapses from a heart attack. Other players quickly started CPR on him but still got no pulse. The one play grabs the church's defibrillator and shocks Gilliard, bringing him back to life.
“I do remember seeing the lights, laying on my back, and coming to,” Gilliard says.
Pastor Eddie Leopard says the church had recently purchased the easy-to-use defibrillator that saved Gilliard's life.
“To me it's just a God thing—That we just happen to have those devices at this time,” the pastor believes.
Jim Gillespie with the Greenville Hospital System explained how the defibrillator works.
“(It) delivers an electrical shock to the body, allowing the heart muscle to get out of its abnormal rhythm and back into a normal rhythm.”
Gillespie says the conditioning center he supervises has several of the devices on hand and says several lives have been saved with them. He recommends more people buy them.
“It's just something we can grab really quick, put the pads on the person, and deliver the shock.”
Gilliard says he is thankful for the defibrillator but even more thankful for the men that saved him—Not only for using the technology but the power of prayer.
“Right at the end, all the men that were playing and had just got through helping me, they all kneeled at center court and that's the picture I'm going to try and get and save from this experience.”
Gilliard also says he is now seeing a doctor for his heart and recovering from a head wound he received when he collapsed.
And, in case you were wondering, the pastor said defibrillators cost about 500 dollars.