Friends and defibrillator save Greer man

From: Greenville News

Tony Gilliard’s friends did everything right one Tuesday night on the basketball court.

While playing a game in June, the 52-year-old made a lay-up and then ran down the court in Fairview Baptist Church’s Recreation Outreach Center in Greer. At the free-throw line, he fell backward.

“I just (sat) down on a chair that ain’t there,” he said. “Ten minutes later, I see the lights in the ceiling.”

Gilliard had a small heart attack that caused cardiac arrest. The other players reacted immediately, starting chest compressions, calling 911 and using an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

Josh Thomas was playing with Gilliard that night. Thomas was on the sideline because of an ankle injury when Gilliard collapsed.

“He was on the ground,” he said. “First we thought he had just tripped, but then we realized he was being nonresponsive.”

Thomas had gone through renewal certification for first responder training just days before at Caterpillar, where he works in product support.

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