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Michael Papale turns his near death experience into a way to help others

NEW HAVEN -- Michael Papale, was on the verge of reaching his ultimate dream: playing college basketball.

But he came very close to losing it all, but the actions of Bob Heubner, a volunteer EMT, made a difference.

Now, Papale, the assistant men's basketball coach of Southern Connecticut State University has joined forces with Heubner, the man who he credits with saving his life.

Papale and Heubner have come together for an organization called "In A Heartbeat". The mission is to help prevent deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. Papale said the "In A Heartbeat Foundation" buys and donates automated external defibrillator and raises money for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy research.

It was supposed to be a nice and productive day of basketball practice for Papale on the morning of August 24, 2006.

“In one second, it was taken from me,” said Papale, who was a standout guard at Sheehan High School, and was receiving offers from Division II and III schools. “But, with that being said, doctors also told me my chances to survive based on my circumstances were one in a million.”

He began the day shooting hoops at Choate Rosemary Hall, before heading to his father’s basketball camp.

“I was just sitting like I am right now on the bleachers and I slumped over onto the floor and I was in sudden cardiac arrest.” said Papale. “There was no automated external defibrillator on site at the time. The only way to survive a cardiac arrest is to be shocked an AED.”

As Papale laid on the ground fighting for his life, someone called 911 and a Heubner rushed over to assist Papale. Heubner performed CPR numerous times on Papale.

“I was able to walk over and lend a helping hand where I walked into total chaos,” said Bob Heubner.

Fore more information about the In A Heartbeat Foundation click here.