AEDs save 2 Blount County referees just weeks apart


    Randy Cone's passion for sports is unrelenting. Once his sons made their way out of parks and recreation league sports, he decided to start officiating basketball about two years ago with . He now also officiates baseball, softball and volleyball games.

    On November 5, Cone was officiating the Southeastern and Locust Fork Junior High girls basketball game. It started out like any other night, but in a matter of minutes, things quickly changed.

    "I had gotten through the first quarter and started the second quarter," Cone said. "I remember handing the ball in, chopping the time, and getting the second quarter going. I walked across half-court, got in my position, and the next thing I knew, everything started going black."

    Cone went down on the court. Mountain Brook Firefighter Kevin Wilson was in the crowd that night for his son's game, which was scheduled for later in the evening. He heard the commotion, saw Cone on the ground, and without hesitation, he jumped down to help. Someone had already started chest compression, and when Cone started to deteriorate and lose color, Wilson told a nearby sheriff's deputy to grab the AED.

    "It was kind of a blur," Wilson said. "We teach CPR often. We teach the citizens, and that was going through my head, the steps we tell them to take...and it just all worked out perfect. It was a group effort. It was not just me, it was not just one other person. It was calm. It was craziness going on around us, but calm when we were working on him."

    After the shock was given, Cone started to regain his color, pulse and eventually started talking with those who helped him.

    "We just worked together as a team," Locust Fork High and Elementary School Nurse Teresa Latham said. "We were put there for a purpose that night."

    Doctors told him his heart went out of rhythm, and Cone would eventually undergo quadruple bypass surgery. He came home the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but Tuesday was his first chance to meet all those who helped save his life.

    "God has been with me," Cone said. "He let these people be here. The right people that I needed at the right time to do what needed to be done, and they are the reason that I am here now. God put me here for a reason, and I think this is going to be one of my big testimonies that God is real. He'll watch over you, like he has me."

    Last Monday, the Blount County Board of Education recognized the individuals who helped out Cone. That same night, another referee went down at J.B. Pennington. with a major blockage to his main artery, and two shocks were given to revive him. We are told he had two stents put in, and he continues to recover.

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