A life-saving act in Williamsville brings together two rivals on the basketball court


WILLIAMSVILLE N.Y. (WIVB) – Being in the right place at the right time, that’s what people in Williamsville say is what saved a basketball referee’s life, after he collapsed during a game.

Benjy Bluman is a basketball referee at Williamsville North high school. Five weeks ago, during a game against Williamsville East, the 74 year-old’s heart stopped beating.

“We were watching the game, watching our kids just having a good time and then all of a sudden we see Benjy down, right underneath the net,” said Doctor Ray Ogra from Buffalo Medical Group. “That’s obviously a very abnormal situation and we both identified that that there was something seriously wrong and ran down there assessed his pulse and realized he was basically out.”

Bluman learned a lot of people are there when he needs them. including a group of medical professionals who for more than 15 minutes worked together to save him.

Takesha Leonard was one of the nurses who helped revive Bluman. She describes the moment when he went down as, organized chaos. She says
everyone came together , without thinking twice and played a role in keeping bluman alive.

“Every breath that you’re taking you’re just giving it all you have, like whatever I have in me lord just let me give, give it to him,” Leonard said. “But it wasn’t looking good and then he opened his eyes.”

“We were totally away from all our tools, all of our support staff and specialists and to see that he was still able to come back, especially like this where we’re able to have a conversation and we’re able to laugh and get to know him,” Doctor Ogra said.

The clock stopped in the previous game with 2 minutes and 52 seconds left in the first quarter when Bluman collapsed. With Bluman looking on that’s where they picked up the game on Wednesday night.

“It’s for the people, the guys and the girls that doctors, the nurses, the people that I didn’t even know for what they did to go out of their comfort zone, what they normally do when watching a basketball game to keep me here,” Bluman said.

“It’s a miracle, there’s no other word for it,” Bluman said. “He looked around, the color started coming back and it was just thee most amazing experience.”

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