NORFOLK (WAVY) – Less than a week after millions of sports fans watched Buffalo Bills safety administered with CPR and taken to the hospital with cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football, Jeff Jones had to watch one of his own players experience a similar ordeal.
“The easiest way to say, it was scary as hell,” said Old Dominion’s head basketball coach.
Imo Essien, 19, collapsed during the Monarchs’ Saturday afternoon matchup at Georgia Southern. “It just felt like it was hard to breath; like I was breathing through a straw,” said the sophomore guard.
Essien, who coincidently shares the same jersey number (3) and the same birthday (March 24), was tended to by training staff from both schools, eventually helped to his feet, and watched the remainder of the game with his teammates on the bench.
“Right before I went down it just felt like all my wind was gone; like I got hit in the stomach,” said Essien. “I had nothing else in me.”
Essien, who’d never experienced a similar situation, made the trip back home with the team and met with a cardiologist on Monday.
“Nothing looks really out of place at this point but there are some other tests that they want to do just to make sure,” said Jones.
In the meantime, Essien is allowed to and even encouraged to participate in athletic activity, but cannot participate in full basketball practice. He’ll have to sit out any upcoming matchups until he’s received further updates from his doctors.
“A lot of emotions running through a lot of people, including myself,” said Essien. “Scary, but you got to move on.”