Nets trainer comes to rescue of advance scout

By on February 5, 2015

Jim Sann goes into cardiac arrest at a team practice on Sunda.Jennifer Pottheiser Jim Sann goes into cardiac arrest at a team practice on Sunda.

TORONTO — Nets practice came to a halt on Sunday when assistant coach and advance scout Jim Sann collapsed at the East Rutherford facility.

“It’s definitely one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” Deron Williams said Wednesday.

Sann had been working with Williams and several others on the court in a pre-practice drill when he felt his chest tighten. He walked under the basket, reeled forward and went into cardiac arrest.

According to a story on Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the incident, Sann’s heart stopped and his “pulse faded and they were losing him.”

Fortunately, Nets trainer Tim Walsh was on site. Just as he had done in the case of forward Mirza Teletovic on Jan. 22 during a game against the Clippers, who was found to have multiple blood clots on his lungs, Walsh was again credited with playing a pivotal role in saving someone’s life.

This time, Walsh performed CPR while others on the medical staff got a defibrillator and Sann was revived.

The Nets wouldn’t make Walsh available to the media at shootaround on Wednesday. But as Walsh sat down to watch practice on a courtside seat, Lionel Hollins was asked how lucky the team was to have Walsh on staff.

Sann, 46, is the father of a 9-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, who “lost their mother to cancer three years ago,” according to Yahoo! Sports.

“We’re thankful that Jim is alive and that everything worked out for him,” Hollins said. “Tim did his job and did it good.”

Athletic trainer Tim Walsh (l.) is at the right place at the right time again as he revives Nets assistant coach Jim Sann.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images Athletic trainer Tim Walsh (l.) is at the right place at the right time again as he revives Nets assistant coach Jim Sann.

Hollins similarly told reporters last month that Teletovic could have died if he hadn’t been rushed to the hospital on Walsh’s recommendation.

Sann, who is very health conscious, has worked for the Knicks, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors — whom the Nets were scheduled to play on Wednesday, Chicago Bulls and Nets during the past two decades.

He has toiled for such disparate personalities as Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, Lawrence Frank and Hollins. He has worked for the Nets as an assistant coach/coaching associate from 2005-2010. During his time in basketball, he has also worked as a video coordinator, advance scout, an assistant coach as well as director of basketball administration.

Another basketball lifer, Walsh is in his 15th season as head athletic trainer of the Nets. He also spent 13 seasons with the Knicks as an assistant trainer. He’s a two-time Trainer of the Year recipient by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association in 2004 and 2014.

After flying back from a West Coast scouting trip, Sann, a native of Larchmont, was in town to watch the Nets lose to the Raptors in OT on Friday.

Two days later, just before he collapsed at the team’s practice facility, Sann had felt his chest constricting and pounding and retreated from the court to take some heartburn medication, thinking it would resolve the problem. It didn’t. Moments later he went into cardiac arrest and blacked out before Walsh sprang into action and saved his life.

After a brief stint in a northern New Jersey hospital, Sann was released on Wednesday with a stent in his heart after surgery to deal with blockage in his artery.

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