College football player saved by cardiologist in the stands


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A college football player, who collapsed while playing against Tennessee Tech in September, survived because of a cardiologist attending the game.

The game was the first of the season for both teams on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Tucker Stadium in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Junior linebacker Michael Roach had started the game but in the third quarter began to feel especially tired.

“I got light-headed and it felt like the world zoned-out around me,” Roach said.

Roach collapsed on the sidelines and went into cardiac arrest.

Cookeville cardiologist Dr. Stacy Brewington happened to be attending the game.

“I was about 20 rows up and saw the commotion, but thought it was a sports injury. But, then the athletic trainer seemed to indicate that there was more to it,” he said.

Dr. Brewington said although there were trainers and team doctors on the field, “no one was feeling for a pulse.”

He walked down to the field to offer assistance and checked Roach’s pulse.

“And sure enough, he had no pulse, and that’s when I started CPR.”

The Wofford team had an automatic defibrillator, which was brought to Dr. Brewington. He used it on Roach, and within seconds, the player’s heart had restarted.

Roach was taken via ambulance to Cookeville Regional Medical Center, where Dr. Brewington is a physician.

Dr. Brewington accompanied the player in the ambulance and then oversaw his treatment at the hospital for the next three days.

Roach was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a thickened heart muscle, according to Dr. Brewington.

Due to the diagnosis, Roach is no longer able to play football.

“I’m just very blessed to have it happen the way it did, because it could have happened if I was out jogging with my friends, or if I was out going hunting or camping,. And I could have [gone] down, out there, and there would have been no chance for me to be revived,” said Roach.

Roach said of Dr. Brewington, “He was just with me every step of the way, honestly. He was just an awesome guy the whole time.”