When Chris Miccio was in high school, his football coach was Marshall Tames. We have no idea how Miccio performed as an athlete, but Tames and Miccio's other coaches and teachers helped him learn how to think quickly on his feet. Over the weekend, the Midwood (N.Y.) High assistant football coach used those quick wits to save the life of his former coach, Erasmus Hall (N.Y.) athletic director Tames, in an episode that was also broadcast over the stadium's loudspeakers.
"Believe it or not the first thing I said when I was conscious was 'who won the game?" Tames, whom you see below, told NBC New York. "It was 8-8, the score. They had just tied it up and then the next thing I remember I was on the floor."
On Saturday, Miccio, who is both an assistant football coach and social studies teacher at Midwood, was working in the stadium press box controlling the scoreboard for a Public School Athletic League football playoff game between Erasmus Hall (N.Y.) High and Clinton (N.Y.) High. One of the other men in the box was Tames, in his current role as Erasmus Hall athletic director.
According to the New York Daily News and NBC New York, everything was progressing normally until the middle of the second quarter, when Tames collapsed to the ground from an apparent heart attack. Miccio immediately sprung into action, ordering the two other men in the press box to get the doctor on site and call 911. Then, the emergency-trained teacher began CPR compressions on his former coach.
"He took control, was calm and collected, and did everything he could do," Tom Esposito, another Midwood assistant coach whom Miccio directed to find the on-site doctor, told the Daily News. "If it wasn't for Miccio taking control I don't think it would have gone as well. If anyone deserves the title of hero it's Chris Miccio."
Miccio was able to perform CPR until Gene Tekmyster, the doctor on-call for the game, and Erasmus team physician Ed Golembe reached Tames. On the way back up to the press box, Esposito grabbed the electronic defibrillator which all PSAL schools are required to have on site, and the doctors administered electronic shocks that restarted the 48-year PSAL employee's heart, keeping him alive until an ambulance arrived moments later.
Amazingly, according to NBC New York, the entire interchange was broadcast over the stadium's loud speakers, which were still activated from the down and distance announcements that Tames had been making during the game.
Tames was transferred to Maimonidies Hospital in Brooklyn and still had a long ordeal ahead of him. The athletic director underwent triple-bypass surgery on Sunday. Tames is recovering from the surgery at the hospital, and it's believed that he could return to work without any restrictions in about six weeks, an amazing recovery from an episode which doctors characterized as him being dead, and then suddenly being brought back to life.
Yet without his former player, Tames would never have even made it to the hospital.
"It was a good feeling to see that he was awake and responsive," Miccio told the Daily News. "I started to talk to him right away to make sure everything was at work and responsive.
"I was going to be there for two reasons -- to work the scoreboard and to check if the guys on the Midwood team had cleaned out their lockers. I never expected to be involved in anything like this ... I am happy that coach Tames is still with us."
As for Tames, he's happy about how everything turned out, with one small detail: His team lost the game.
"They said, 'We didn't do it for the Gipper,'" Tames told NBC New York. "You remember that movie -- we're going to do one for the Gipper? They didn't win it for the Gipper."