Coaches’ wives make meals, keep stats, cheer from the stands, and provide comfort after a loss.
They also save lives.
That was the case June 6 when first-year Tucson Pusch Ridge head boys basketball coach David Thomas stopped breathing in bed.
His wife Ashley got him off the bed on a flat surface, tilted his head back and helped get him back breathing while communicating with a 911 dispatcher on the phone.
Her CPR background kept him going until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.
“We were in bed,” Thomas, 30, said. “My wife woke up to me shaking and going into convulsions. She immediately called 911. They found out how not choke myself to death. I was not breathing. My body tensed up. She started CPR and she got me to start breathing again.
“Good thing we didn’t have to go too far. My wife is 105 pounds. She got me on a flat surface. She tilted my head back to open a small airway.”
Thomas, director of Tucson Power Basketball, said at the hospital, later that night, he had a couple of more seizures.
He said he believes it was caused by severe dehydration and 102-degree fever, and consuming too many energy drinks.
“Two days prior to that, I was just drinking energy drinks,” he said. “I wasn’t paying attention. I was always on the go. I was doing a lot of coaching, getting ready for my high school season. That day I took my son to a water park.
“When the fever hit, it knocked me out. I had a small headache going to bed.”
Thomas said the doctor wanted to keep him in the hospital for a few days, but he left after a day, he said, because he had to get to a basketball camp for his players.
Now he keeps himself hydrated and has limited the energy drinks. So far so good. And his wife is making sure he provided updates.
“She’ll always text me, ‘What did you drink today? Did you have water?’ ” he said.
John Ortega, who works for Arizona Power Basketball Academy, calls Thomas “a brother,” who is in the game “for the right reasons.”
“He loves the players and wants to see them succeed,” Ortega said.
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