NCAA ref Bert Smith taken out on stretcher after on-court collapse during Elite Eight

A scary moment interrupted the Elite Eight on Tuesday, as NCAA official Bert Smith abruptly collapsed during a game between No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 6 seed USC.

Smith’s fall to the ground included an audible thud that echoed through Lucas Oil Stadium, which is only a quarter full for the Elite Eight games. It was immediately apparent something was amiss, as the Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd saw him fall and ran toward him with a frightened look on his face.

Video of Smith's collapse can be seen here, but be aware it's a disturbing sight.

Gonzaga’s bench waved for doctors to come over to tend to him. Within a minute, Smith was surrounded by a half-dozen medical professionals. A yellow stretcher rolled across the court next to him, and by the time he was put on top of it he was awake and sat up, flashing a smile, as he was wheeled off. The crowd, which had been in a stunned silence, gave a hearty cheer as he rolled off on the stretcher.

As medical officials looked at him for nearly five minutes, it created an awkward scene of the Gonzaga basketball team huddling and discussing strategy and game-planning while medical officials were huddled around Smith about 10 yards away.

Smith was replaced on the court by alternate official Tony Henderson.

The NCAA later announced that Smith was "alert and stable," and would not be transported to a hospital. Former official Gene Steratore reported on the TBS broadcast that Smith had felt light-headed on the court before his collapse.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 30: Referee Bert Smith lies on the court after collapsing during the first half of the Elite Eight round game between the USC Trojans and the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bert Smith's collapse briefly halted Tuesday's Elite Eight game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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