It was a routine flight home after another weekend tournament. The plane ride took on an interesting twist however and some of the Sports U/Team Izod basketball team responded and jumped into action.
Team Izod had played in Dallas in the Under Armour Invitational tournament which is part of the Under Armour Association. They were on the Flight 610 which left Dallas Texas at 7:00 PM Sunday night bound for Newark. The flight ended up diverted and landed unexpectedly in Baltimore, Maryland.
Sports U 16 & Under Coach Serge Clement said, "There was a guy who caught a seizure and got stuck in the bathroom." The passenger, Kenny Gillman is diabetic and was suffering a seizure. Clement continues, "Some of the kids went to the bathroom but were waiting for like 5 minutes. Tom Lacey (Seton Hall Prep Sr. and Naval Prep bound) noticed the occupied/vacant sign was flickering back and forth. Tom opened door a little and saw a guy on the floor. We got the door open a little but couldn't get him out. He was stuck. We couldn't get him out the cracked door. I tried to lift him up but realized we had to break the door to get him out. We worked together to break the door off and had to completely kick it off to get him out."
Lacey remembers, "A few of us were lined up for the bathroom we were waiting for like 4-5 minutes. The indicator switched to vacant but nobody came out. We knocked and called in there but nobody answered. I started feeling something was wrong. I managed to open the door a little but didn't see anything. Than I noticed there was a man on the floor wedged between the toilet, wall and door. He was able to talk but he said he couldn't move. The Flight Attendant came over. I tried to put my fingers in to open the door further. The attendant said not to, and that I could hurt my fingers. But I went ahead anyway. I opened the door as much as I could but he was still on the floor. I got my upper body in there but couldn't pick him up. He was lodged in there. Coach Serge jumped in also, but even the two of us couldn't get him up in the confined space. We were both sweating pretty bad; it was hot in there. Davere Creighton (So. forward from Brooklyn Collegiate in New York), Serge and myself finally broke open the door. We kept pushing and pushing together on 1, 2, 3. At this point everyone on the plane knew what was going on and were looking at us."
Lacey goes on, "His legs were contorted. He was in pretty bad shape. He was hyperventilating. I said Kenny you have to breath in and out. They got him oxygen. We got him to move his legs. They got him orange juice. He said he was a diabetic. I talked basketball with him to relax him. I was wearing a Final Four t-shirt so we started talking about the Final Fours. He seemed to calm down.
He wanted to go back to his seat. Serge and I got him to his seat. When he got to his seat he had a seizure. His eyes were rolling into his head. His head went down and he had trouble breathing. I kept saying Kenny you have to breathe. Breathe in and out. The Flight Attendant came over and they put the Defibrillator on his chest. The plane made an emergency landing in Baltimore and the EMT took over from there."
Clement sings Lacey's praises, "Tom Lacey he's something. He's calm and collected for an 18 year old. He's something else. He talked to him the whole time and stayed with him even after we got him out of the bathroom."
Gillman's traveling companion, David Whitebook said, "I was sitting behind my friend and had dozed off when I heard a commotion that a person was locked in bathroom; that someone had collapsed while in the bathroom. He had locked the door. He was wedged in there and they couldn't open the door. The stewardesses, frankly didn't know what to do. Fortunately the guys from the team were there. They're big and strong. I didn't want to get in the way. They worked hard as a team. One particular gentleman, Tom Lacey was very good. And Ed Bright who was in charge of the group should be commended. They somehow managed by the grace of god to get him out. Ed's people were so helpful and concerned. The guys were great, they helped a lot. Tom even wanted to make sure I called him to let him know how Kenny was doing."
St. Anthony Jr. guard Tarin Smith was also very much involved in the rescue and showed tremendous teamwork and determination in getting Gillman out of the bathroom.
Whitebook said that as of Tuesday afternoon, Gillman, while still in the hospital, had regained consciousness and seemed to be doing better.
Sports U has had many successful weekends travelling to tournaments, but this may have been their most successful ever.
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