Referee Who Collapsed on Field Meets Doctor and Trainer Who Helped Save His Life

Dennis Bennett collapsed on the sidelines of a high school football game he was officiating on Oct. 18

Not many doctor visits start with a heart-felt embrace, but the one Wednesday morning at Allen Orthopedics and Sports Medicine did.

Cardiac patient Dennis Bennett met orthopedic and sports medicine Dr. Andrew Parker for the first time since Parker helped save Bennett's life.

"Hey Dr. Parker, thank you," Bennett said as the two embraced in front of Bennett's wife and four daughters, one of whom was "there" via phone from California.

"It's a slightly different thing for me," Parker said of meeting the man he helped save. He said most of his orthopedic patient interactions aren't life and death.

"It's all very gratifying."

Parker was on the sidelines of a Melissa-Celina high school football game last month when Bennett, who served as the umpire on the officiating crew, collapsed with about 3 minutes left in the game. Parker and Melissa High School Head Athletic Trainer Jose Mendez sprang into action.

"As soon as I ran out there and noticed that you were unconscious, and you actually gasped for air one last time," Mendez said.

"I guess I was dead for a second or two," Bennett said.

Mendez called for an automated external defibrillator to shock Bennett's heart, then Parker performed 30 chest compressions and Bennett came back.

"I remember you asking, 'Who punched me or who hit me?'" Mendez said.

"Because that's what it feels like when you get shocked," Parker said.

Bennett is back in his referee uniform. He will be officiating high school football playoff games at The Star in Frisco Thursday, thanks to a sideline assist from a doctor, a trainer and the AED.

"It doesn't take somebody that's certified," Mendez said of using the AED.

He's said he's been trained on it and had to use it twice -- both successfully.

"Anybody can use this and save a life," he said.

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