A 58-year-old basketball referee died in Alabama Monday night after he collapsed less than a quarter into a game between two local teams. The schools agreed not to continue playing after 58-year-old Rodney Nowell fell to the court and was not immediately revived, but the teams were given much more tragic news Tuesday when informed that Nowell had died after being transported to the Dale County Medical Center.
As reported by local CBS affiliate WTVY, while some might focus on the amount of time that it took to get help from paramedics, the coaches of both teams insist every effort was made to help save the ref, and that there was, “nothing we could do about it,” per Carroll coach Len Stanford, whose team was scheduled to follow the Dothan-New Brockton game.
“It was about the end of the first quarter as it was coming to an end, about less than 10 seconds left, and I looked up and I thought he was about to make a call as he was standing straight up, but then I saw him go face down to the floor,” Stanford told the Dothan Eagle. “We ran out on the floor and administered CPR, called 911 and we did the defibrillator until the paramedics arrived,” Stanford told the Eagle. “We did everything we could do. There was nothing we could do about it.”
The instant, communal nature of the help offered for Nowell underscores how responsive and attuned people have become about health concerns. In this case, the paramedics simply couldn’t get there quite quickly enough to save Nowell.
“We had just scored off a dunk and I was trying to get our defense set up when the players on the bench started hollering and yelling,” Dothan coach Todd Taylor told the Eagle. “I looked back at them and they were pointing (toward the referee) and that is when I saw him on the floor.
“We all started pitching in to help and we had some great fans to come down to assist us. The paramedics got there quickly.”