Surveillance footage shows the Gilliard collapse. (Source: Fairview Baptist Church)
GREER, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Tony Gilliard said he is a regular at the pick-up basketball games at Fairview Baptist Church's gym in Greer, but a recent game could have easily been his last.
"I got a rebound, went down court, went to the basket and made a layup then jogged back down court," said Gilliard.
Moments later Gilliard fell lifeless to the floor from a heart attack. Witnesses said Gilliard didn't breathe or have a pulse for several minutes. Other players tried unsuccessfully to revive Gilliard using CPR.
It wasn't until one player used a defibrillator that Gilliard regained consciousness.
"I do remember seeing the lights, laying on my back and coming to," said Gilliard.
Pastor Eddie Leopard said the church recently purchased several defibrillators and placed them around the church.
"To me it's just a God thing," said Leopard. "I don't believe in accidents, that we just happen to have those devices at this time."
Leopard said the devices cost more than $500 and are easy to use.
Gilliard said he is now seeing a doctor for his heart and recovering from a head wound he received when he collapsed.
He said he is thankful for the defibrillator but more thankful for the players that saved him and who knelt and prayed at half court for him after he was carried away on an ambulance.
"That's the picture I want to carry away from this experience," said Gilliard.
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