CANTON (CBS) – A quick-thinking Zamboni driver helped save a Dorchester man who suffered a heart attack while playing hockey.
“I came out of the compressor room and I noticed a man down on the ice,” said Eric Baker who drives the Zamboni at the Canton Sportsplex.
Baker was working on Saturday as a group of forty-somethings, all friends who grew up together in Dorchester, had their yearly reunion and hockey game when 46-year-old Chris Gracia suffered cardiac arrest.
“His friends were around him and getting emotional and yelling,” Baker said.
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 on the machine,” Baker said. “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 100 percent saved this guy’s life,” Coleman said. “The key to surviving a heart attack is immediate, good CPR and they were all over it.”
“I learned at the hospital he has two small children and the day before Father’s Day, it’s really nice,” Pendergast said. “We don’t always get good outcomes so this is really nice.”
“It was emotional,” Baker said. “It was hard but hopefully the fella’s OK.”
This is the second time Chris Gracia had a heart attack at a hockey rink and the second time CPR and a portable defibrillator saved him. He’s still in the hospital and his brother says he is improving, but that his hockey playing days are over.