Hanover athletic trainer saves referee’s life after heart attack on soccer field

HANOVER, Mass. — Hanover High School’s athletic trainer saved a referee’s life after he suffered a heart attack on the field, police and witnesses say.

During Tuesday’s boys' varsity soccer game, the official suddenly collapsed on the field. Players, coaches and spectators yelled for help, as athletic trainer Amy Tessitore, trained and prepared for everything from orthopedic injuries to cardiac emergencies, sprinted from the sidelines.

A nurse in the home stands yelled for an AED, and a father of a player ran and grabbed one from a station beside the field.

“I started care on him immediately and then directed other people to get 911 activated, get the AED and get everything kind of set up to do what we needed to do,” Tessitore said.

Tessitore performed chest compressions, but the official still had no pulse. She quickly started the defibrillator and was able to deliver a shock and regain a pulse. He soon became responsive, answering questions, and first responders rushed him by ambulance to the hospital.

“I just was like shaking my head in amazement at what she had done,” said Hanover High School Athletic Director Scott Hutchison, who witnessed the incident. "She saved a gentleman’s life and then jumped right back into the game and was ready to move forward.”

The official’s family has since reached out to the school to thank them and let them know he is doing well, Hutchison said.

“That’s all I could hope for. He’s a father, he’s a well respected member of our officials,” Tessitore said. “I’m thankful that I was there, so proud that my training allowed me to be there for something like this. And it was wonderful to see everyone around jump in. I couldn’t do it by myself.”

While Tessitore is humble about her actions, giving credit to the players, coaches and spectators who helped out, Hutchison is very proud of her.

“Really, she’s a local hero here,” Hutchison said. “Sometimes we throw that term out there. But on a day-to-day basis, Amy’s one of our heroes.”

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