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By Elisha Fieldstadt
A North Carolina hockey player who recently collapsed on the ice while suffering a heart attack says if it weren’t for the fast action of a fellow player — who happens to be a doctor — he probably wouldn’t be alive to skate another day.
Surveillance video from Pineville Ice House shows Jib Street fall on the ice in late January. Dr. Craig Bryant, who was also playing pickup hockey at the rink that day, said he saw Street go down and went into “automatic mode.”
“This is time to take the hockey helmet off and put the doctor hat on,” Bryant said he thought to himself.
Once Bryant realized Street was unconscious, he checked his vital signs, ordered other players to call 911 and bring him the rink’s automated external defibrillator (AED) and began CPR.
Street was suffering from cardiac arrest, which if not treated, can leave a victim with irreversible brain damage within a matter of minutes, Bryant said.
“It was a very close call,” Bryant said. “If bystander CPR wasn’t initiated within the first couple of minutes of him going down, we could have a very different outcome.”
“Thanks to the quick action by Dr. Bryant, his fellow hockey players, and rink staff, Jib Street regained consciousness within six minutes of his initial collapse,” said a statement from Pineville Ice House.
Once EMTs arrived, other players rushed to help them get to Street without slipping on the ice, the statement said. As Street was wheeled out on a Gurney, “players vigorously tapped their sticks on the ice to show their respect and wish Jib Street a speedy recovery.”
“I’m very blessed to be here,” said Street. “My heart had stopped pumping and I wasn’t breathing and my organs were shutting down and I was simply dead.”
Street called Bryant his “guardian angel,” and his hero, gifting him a jersey signed by another one of his heroes — Wayne Gretzky.
Street now has a defibrillator device with a built-in pacemaker, and although he’s not cleared to play hockey just yet, he’s not ready to hang up his skates. But “when I step back on the ice, I’m definitely going to be doing it with this man right beside me” he said of Bryant.