NCAA Ref in 'Stable' Condition After Collapsing During Gonzaga-USC March Madness Elite Eight Game
NCAA men's tournament official Bert Smith is in "stable" condition after he suddenly collapsed during Tuesday night's Elite Eight match-up between Gonzaga and USC.
As seen in the video shared on Twitter by reporter Anthony Bellino, Smith abruptly collapsed early in the first half of the game in front of the Gonzaga bench at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Immediately after his fall, fellow officials, coaches and medical staff rushed to his aide.
As Smith was tended to by medical professionals on the floor, Gonzaga players were told to look away, ESPN reported.
Smith reportedly stayed on the floor for about five minutes before standing up and moving to a nearby stretcher. As seen in Bellino's Twitter clip, Smith was sitting up awake on the stretcher and briefly flashed a smile. He was not taken to the hospital.
Reporters Ross Dellenger and Jeff Borzello later tweeted that, according to the NCAA, Smith was in stable condition. Per Dellenger, Smith "was feeling light-headed" when he collapsed on the court.
Smith was replaced by an alternate official Tony Henderson for the remainder of the game, which ended in a 85-66 win for No. 1 seed Gonzaga.
After the game, Gonzaga head coach Mark Few spoke highly of Smith, telling reporters that he is "a great official, great person."
"I mean, I was just shocked and scared for him," said Few, per ESPN, "but I was able to stick my head in there a little bit and see that he was talking and coherent and tried to say a quick prayer for him and just wished him the best."
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The 2021 NCAA men's tournament continues with the Final Four this weekend. Baylor will play Houston on Saturday evening, while UCLA will face-off with Gonzaga later that night. The winners will advance to the championship game on Monday.
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