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Tampa woman saves man's life, then finishes triathlon

ST. PETERSBURG — A Tampa woman saved the life of a man who had a heart attack during a triathlon Saturday morning, race officials said.

Teresa McCoy, 37, was just about to finish the bike portion of the Meek and Mighty Triathlon, part of the annual St. Anthony's Triathlon events, when she saw two police officers huddled over a fellow rider along Bayshore Drive.

McCoy recognized the middle-aged man as runner No. 100. The two had chatted briefly before the start of the race. McCoy, a nurse at Tampa General Hospital's cardiac lab, was No. 96.

With other riders speeding by, McCoy steered her bike to where the man was down.

The officers thought the man might be having a seizure, but McCoy checked for a pulse.

"I didn't feel one at all," she said. "He wasn't looking good."

McCoy began CPR, then yelled for someone to find a defibrillator. One of the officers had one in his trunk.

"As soon as we shocked him, he came to," McCoy said.

As paramedics arrived and loaded the man into an ambulance, McCoy got back on her bike and finished the race.

She learned later that the man survived. Officials declined to release the man's name at his family's request, but said he is expected to recover.

"I'm so glad he's alive," McCoy said Saturday night. "I know that God put me where I was supposed to be today. It's like I was his angel today."

Tampa woman saves man's life, then finishes triathlon 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 9:47pm]
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