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Hockey players save life at center ice from Cardiac Arrest

Hockey players save life at center ice from Cardiac Arrest

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — When you play pick-up hockey, you never know who you are getting on your team. But when Brandon Miller stepped on the ice for lunchtime hockey Jan. 13 at Thornton Park in Shaker Heights, his team was stacked with superstars, he just didn't know it yet.

Miller, who is described as a goal scorer by fellow hockey players, was trailing a play and fell to the ice.

"I remember kind of having a fall and I thought my skates got out from under me doing a crossover," he said.

He skated to center ice and fell again. This time he went down hard.

"I do remember laying down on the ice and seeing people coming up and pulling equipment," he said

Within seconds, Miller's teammates jumped off the bench and rushed over to help. Moments later, it was clear that Miller picked a good day to play pick-up hockey. His team was loaded with medical professionals.

First over the boards was fellow player and paramedic, Matt Urie. Right behind him, Dr. Mike Fellenbaum, a third-year emergency room resident at University Hospitals.

"We just sort of sprung into action," said Fellenbaum, who started chest compressions.

And they weren't the only ones. Dr. Venkatesh Kambhampati, an emergency room doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, was the goalie. Together they surrounded Miller, taking turns doing CPR.

Within five minutes, other players skated off the ice and located an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the rink's lobby.

"I remember doing CPR and getting the AED as well skated out to us, and thankfully everything was kind of set up well and we were able to get him a shock and then the medics came," Kambhampati said.

The fast action of his fellow hockey players saved Miller's life.

On Friday, the players reunited for the first time since Miller's heart attack and cardiac arrest.Brand

"I got to see the video," Miller said. "It still blows my mind how quickly you jumped into action."

Miller says he's feeling great. He had bypass surgery to fix a 90% blocked artery. Doctors say he had no damage to his heart due to the speedy response. He hopes to play hockey again by April.

"It blows my mind how lucky it happened where it did," said Miller.

"Two docs and a paramedic, it worked out alright," said Urie.

Shaker Fire Chief Pat Sweeney says you don't have to wait for an expert to use an AED or learn CPR.