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Hockey teammates save man having heart attack

Joe Tymeck, center, of Oyster Bay shakes the

Joe Tymeck, center, of Oyster Bay shakes the hand of Ron McGrath, of Old Brookville, with wife Janet to his right, as Joe returns to visit his team during a practice at the Freeport Ice Rink after being saved during his recent cardiac arrest by members of his team from the FDNY. (Nov. 28, 2012) Credit: Steve Pfost

Joe Tymeck of Oyster Bay is counting his blessings after a heart attack last week -- and the lifesaving response from his hockey teammates who used CPR and a defibrillator to revive him.

"Thank God for these men," Tymeck, 53, said of his teammates, who are FDNY firefighters and a Nassau correction officer. "They picked me up; were on top of me using their textbook CPR; hooked me up and then I was back. It was a miracle and a blessing to have a defibrillator nearby."

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when the men were playing their weekly hockey scrimmages at the Freeport Ice Rink on Merrick Boulevard.

During a break, Tymeck sat on the bench to have a drink of water. "I keeled over and landed on the floor," he said. "I felt no pain. There were no symptoms. I just sat down on the bench chatting with some of the guys when I went over," he said.

"I am blessed to have been playing hockey with a bunch of New York City firemen. I just happen to be in the unbelievably good hands of these miracle workers. If I was not with these men I know I wouldn't be here right now."

Tymeck was rushed to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside and released a few days later.

With 12 years on the job, FDNY firefighter Ron Cassar of East Islip said he never "saw anyone come back to life like that."

"It was unbelievable to see the defibrillator work," Cassar said. "We couldn't believe it actually worked so fast and how easy it was. It's self-explanatory. The defibrillator actually talks to you."

There were six on hand to save Tymeck's life. "We put him on a flat surface. He was unconscious," Cassar said. "There was no pulse. We started with chest compressions and then rescue breathing, but Joe was still out of it. One guy ran for the defibrillator."

Cassar, 47, said they put adhesive tapes on Tymeck's chest, one on the right side and one on the left. "It tells you to get everybody back when it will shock you. If the machine does detect a pulse it won't shock you.

"These are lifesaving tools. Everybody can do it," he said.

Tymeck, who retired after 27 years working on a Wall Street trading desk, has a family history of heart disease. He said doctors told him without the quick CPR and defibrillator response, "I wouldn't be here right now."

With rest, he should be back on the ice in four weeks.

In the past five years, 67,000 people have received CPR training by the FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit, which visits neighborhoods and schools, where 2,800 high school students have been trained.

"To say that I am going to have a blessed holiday is an emotional understatement," Tymeck said. "I have a lot to be thankful for."

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