CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Friends and teammates helped save a man’s life after a he collapsed during a soccer game at La Salle High School Sunday afternoon.
Gheorghe Lupu, 60, went into cardiac arrest at halftime. Others playing in the game, including an off-duty paramedic and a doctor, said he was unconscious and not breathing.
"All of the sudden, Gheorghe just slumped over and fell in the lap of my teammate Rudy, and we knew obviously something was wrong cause he was just limp like a rag doll," said Dave Silvestre, who was Gheorghe's teammate and a family doctor.
"My training, that sort of kicked in right away," he said.
Silvestre told another player to call 9-1-1 and began giving Lupu CPR.
"We learn to use that Bee Gees song 'Stayin' Alive,'" said Silvestre. "So that's what was actually going through my head during chest compressions."
Another soccer player, Emile Lemoine, ran to the nearby school to look for the building's Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).
"I just went from door to door and each door was locked," said Lemoine. "I was really concerned that he was going to die."
Lemoine said he was ready to break through a window.
"One last door I tried, and it was the weight room, happened to be open. I have no idea why," he said.
Lemoine said others inside helped him find the AED. Paramedic and fellow soccer player Dale Montgomery delivered one life-saving shock.
"It's amazing to think one of your friends basically died and came back to life the same day," said Lemoine. "I felt like I had gone to a funeral and and the person had come back to life."
Lupu was taken to a hospital.
His daughter called her dad's teammates angels after what they did to help save his life.
"It's family, and he very well couldn't be here, and he is, so we're very thankful for that," said Linda Lupu.
Montgomery said the AED certainly saved Lupu's life and he feels the league needs to take further action to save more lives in the future.
"We have a referee at every place, why not have an AED as part of the referee's equipment? To me, that would have been a very scary scene without this there," Montgomery said.
David Christopher, an organizer of the Greater Portland Soccer League, told KATU News in an email "There are a lot of questions on this as far as costs, distribution, liability, management, use, etc. However, I am sure it will get brought up and discussed in the coming meetings."
The league president said he plans to put out a newsletter now to team managers, because knowing where AEDs are is half the battle.
Lupu is still recovering in the hospital.
"He didn't want to get on the ambulance," Lemoine said. "I think he wanted to play the second half."
Clackamas Fire is encouraging all people to learn CPR. For more information, visit the American Heart Association.