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Fan returns after suffering from cardiac arrest at Cal Poly basketball game

Posted at 11:46 PM, Jan 23, 2019

A man who suffered from a cardiac arrest at Cal Poly Men’s Basketball game returns to Mott Athletics Center after fans saved his life.

Tom Martin was at the January 14th game when all of a sudden he became unresponsive, but the immediate response from some fans saved his life.

“I am forever grateful, they gave me back my life,” said Tom Martin, who went into cardiac arrest during a basketball game.

Martin and his wife Candy have sat in these seats watching Cal Poly Basketball for 16 years, but during a game a few weeks ago, tom’s heart suddenly stopped.

“I was watching the game and the next thing you know, I am looking up at an EMT,” said Tom.

Fans jumped in and started CPR with an A-E-D almost immediately.

Among those bystanders was an off-duty Lompoc firefighter, an off-duty medical doctor from Marian Regional Medical Center and a Cal Poly athletic trainer.

“To save someone’s life, it’s surreal,” said Louis Farah, an off-duty Lompoc firefighter who performed CPR on Tom. “Knowing that he’s going to a basketball game, just a couple weeks later, there’s no better feeling than that.”

​”The first thing he said was ‘Did we win,’” said Candy Martin. “They took him in the gurney and he waved like this and said ‘Go Poly’ and there was a standing ovation.”

Candy said it was horrifying to see her husband like that, but she said if the game didn’t go into overtime, help wouldn’t have come in time.

“We would have been in the parking lot or right here, we leave right after a game.”

“Because they started the CPR so early, the blood flood kept going to my brain,” said Tom. “Other than a sore chest and a new set of jumper cables in me, I am fine.”

Tom walks away with a defibrillator, a positive attitude and a smile.

“If you’re going to have any sort of heart situation, have it at the Cal Poly basketball game because the response was phenomenal,” said Tom.

Tom and Candy want to thank everyone who was at that game and supported them through Tom’s recovery.

First responders tell me anyone can learn bystander CPR and knowing it can be the difference of life or death. ​