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Gasparilla runner rescued after heart stops during race

TAMPA — A 54-year-old man running in the Gasparilla Distance Classic on Saturday morning was saved by paramedics along the route after his heart stopped.

The runner, who authorities did not identify, collapsed about 8:25 a.m. at the corner of Bayshore and El Prado boulevards.

Bystanders began CPR while others quickly alerted Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics on the scene.

Within minutes, paramedics Mike Campbell and George Nelson hooked the man to a defibrillator and shocked him. Rescuers said his heart rhythm and breathing returned slowly but steadily before he was taken to Tampa General Hospital.

The man regained consciousness at the hospital, wondering what happened. Other than facial injuries from the fall, he was in good shape, said Tampa Fire Rescue.

Campbell, one of the rescuers, brushed off any hint of heroism.

"It was a team effort with all of Tampa Fire involved, and bystanders as well," he said. Just part of the job.

"It was good to hear that everything turned out well," Campbell said.

Two years ago, another runner, a woman, also collapsed at the Gasparilla race and was saved by quick CPR and paramedic care.

This year there were about two dozen total reports of mostly minor injuries, including heat exhaustion and scrapes from falls.

Gasparilla runner rescued after heart stops during race 02/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 26, 2011 9:10pm]
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