Celina & Melissa Coaches' On Field Account

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Dennis Bennett was working as the umpire on the officiating crew for Friday’s Celina at Melissa game when he collapsed with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter.

“He had a full-blown heart attack,” Celina coach Bill Elliott said. “It puts it all in perspective. It’s life and death.”

Melissa’s school-appointed doctor and athletic trainers from both schools administered CPR and electrical shocks to Bennett on the field. Elliott said an ambulance had to be recalled to the stadium because it had been there earlier but then had to leave.

“They had to revive him,” said Joel Williams, the president of the Dallas Football Officials Association that Bennett works for. “They got him to the hospital, and he’s doing fine.”

Melissa coach Matt Nally praised those who attended to Bennett, saying they handled the situation promptly and effectively.

“To see someone fighting for their life, you put things in perspective and start to realize how much we take life for granted,” Nally said. “It was scary to be a part of.”

The game was delayed for nearly 20 minutes. When play resumed, Melissa stopped Celina on third- and fourth-and-goal plays from inside the 5-yard line to preserve a 22-17 lead, and Melissa went on to win 29-17.

Twitter: @DMNGregRiddle

Greg Riddle Sports Day HS | Dallas Morning News

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