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Ref says NCAA Tournament fall could have saved his life

Mar 30, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A NCAA referee is helped off the court after falling on the court during the game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the USC Trojans in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Referee Bert Smith said his collapse in the NCAA Tournament game between Gonzaga and Southern California could have saved his life.

The 56-year-old told The Indianapolis Star in a report published Friday that the incident led to the diagnosis of a blood clot in his lung.

“You don’t know where that clot was going next,” Smith told the publication.

Smith collapsed in the first half of the Elite Eight contest on March 30, hitting his head on the court at Lucas Oil Stadium, and was taken off on a stretcher. He eventually was taken to an Indianapolis hospital, where tests discovered the reason for the scary incident.

He was put on blood thinners and spent two days in the hospital. His outlook on life has changed.

“It puts in perspective the value of each day, because we all go through our lives — we’re all guilty of it — and we just live, right?” Smith said. “But do we say ‘I love you’ enough? Do we give an extra hug enough? Do we do the things with our family and friends that have value to them? When you live something like I did, it hits you square in the eyes that you really have to value each day.”

Read More: Baylor ends Gonzaga’s perfect run, wins NCAA college basketball title

–Field Level Media