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Saying thanks to health care heroes with gift of Super Bowl tickets 

Mount Sinai South Nassau's Super Bowl Sunday health

Mount Sinai South Nassau's Super Bowl Sunday health care heroes, left to right, Dr. Adhi Sharma, chief medical officer; Dr. Frank Coletta, chief of critical care and pulmonary medicine; Eileen Carolan, emergency department nurse; and Iris Halem, director of respiratory therapy. Credit: Mount Sinai South Nassau

He calls it "the episode," though his wife and three daughters remind him it was a heart attack — one that could have killed him.

That NFL management council general counsel Larry Ferazani, 50, of Rockville Centre, will be at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday is because he stopped ignoring the nagging pain in his chest and got himself to Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside.

Which meant he found himself in the right place at the right time with the right doctors and staff. Which meant Sunday he'll attend his 13th Super Bowl.

As a thank you, Ferazani donated four Super Bowl tickets to South Nassau staff members. So Dr. Adhi Sharma, chief medical officer, Dr. Frank Coletta, chief of critical care and pulmonary medicine, Eileen Carolan, an emergency department nurse, and Iris Halem, director of respiratory therapy, will be among 7,500 vaccinated U.S. health care workers who'll be at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

As a member of the management council, Ferazani knows the work that went into being able to play this NFL season and he said Commissioner Roger Goodell wanted to recognize that, especially once many front-line health care workers were vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It shows there is light at the end of the tunnel," Ferazani said.

Carolan and Coletta agreed.

Neither treated Ferazani, but both have spent the past year treating COVID-19 patients at South Nassau.

"I think it's going to be great for the psyche of America," Coletta, of Valley Stream, said, noting fans will see vaccinated health care workers "are healthy … are able to attend a mass gathering." He added: "It's a shot in the arm and a steppingstone toward normalcy."

Carolan, of Amityville, said, "I am so grateful the vaccine came out, that we're able to do this."

Ferazani's medical adventure unfolded in December 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

He ignored the chest pain he'd felt while working 12-hour days on negotiations between the NFL and players union.

One night on the Long Island Rail Road going home to Rockville Centre Ferazani said he couldn't shake "really heavy pressure" in his chest.

Driving home from the station he called his wife, Christine, and told her he was going to Mount Sinai South Nassau just in case it wasn't indigestion. He walked into the ER, told a nurse: "I think I need Pepto Bismol, but I also might be having a heart attack."

An angioplasty found he had 100% blockage in his main artery.

Fortunately, he suffered no lasting damage to the heart muscle.

The ticket gift is greatly appreciated by the four South Nassau staffers.

"It's all very exciting," said Carolan, who called herself "a home team girl" who roots for the Jets and Giants but will be pulling for Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. Going to the Super Bowl is "something I never thought I'd experience in my life," she said.

A also a Jets fan, Coletta said he'll root for Brady as well.

"To see Tom Brady, in what might be his last football game or his last Super Bowl is an even bigger bonus," he said.

Ferazani is just grateful for the "wonderful people" at South Nassau.

He says his daughters now refer to his calmer demeanor as "post-heart attack Dad."

Not the usual crowd

Super Bowl LV will kick off Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The stands at this game will look different:

• Raymond James Stadium seats 75,000, in a non-pandemic world.

• This Sunday 25,000 fans, plus 30,000 cardboard cutout fans, will fill stadium seats.

• The live attendance will include about 7,500 vaccinated health care workers from around the nation.

Source: NFL

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