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Calm hockey rink worker helps save life of heart attack victim

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jun 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 19:19:15-04

CANTON, MA (WBZ/CNN) -  A 46-year-old man suffered a heart attack at a Massachusetts hockey rink over the weekend. It was the quick action of a zamboni (ice resurfacer) driver that got the man's heart beating again. 

"I came out of the compressor room and I noticed a man down on the ice,” Eric Baker said. Baker drives the zamboni at the Canton Sportsplex. He was working on Saturday as a group of 40-somethings, all friends who grew up together in Dorchester, had their yearly reunion and hockey game.

During the game Chris Gracia suffered cardiac arrest. “His friends were around him and getting emotional and yelling," Baker said. But some of the friends were first responders, and started CPR.  

Baker grabbed the rink's portable defibrillator. “I got his shirt up, and got the pads on him and turned the machine on and had to give him a shock. His whole body came literally, up in the air,” Baker said.

Canton firefighters Jason Coleman and Brian Pendergast answered the emergency call. "They a 100 percent saved this guy's life. The key to survival of a heart attack is immediate, good CPR...and they were all over it,” Coleman said. 

"I learned at the hospital he has two small children and the day before Father's Day, it's really nice. We don't always get good outcomes, so this is really nice,” Pendergast said. 

"It was emotional, it was hard. But hopefully the fellow's OK, " Baker said. 

This is the second time Gracia has had a heart attack at a hockey rink, and been saved by a portable defibrillator. His brother says his hockey playing days are over. 

  

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