S.C. State senior guard Tyvoris Solomon suffered a medical emergency that caused a 40-minute delay during the first half of N.C. State’s 103-71 victory on Saturday at PNC Arena.
After receiving medical attention, including CPR, from emergency medical personnel, Solomon was conscious, stabilized and transported to Rex Hospital in Raleigh. S.C. State head coach Murray Garvin accompanied Solomon to the hospital. S.C. State associate head coach Rio Pitt said after the game that Solomon was in stable condition.
“Thanks be to God that he’s OK,” Pitt said.
A Rex Hospital spokesperson said Solomon was in fair condition Saturday evening, according to The Associated Press.
Once Solomon’s condition was stabilized during the game, S.C. State’s players had the choice of whether or not to continue the game, Pitt said. They voted unanimously to resume the game.
“Coach Garvin said it’s up to the players,” Pitt said. “We walked in the locker room said ‘Guys, it’s up to you whether you want to continue the game or not.’ They said ‘We’ll do what Ty would do. Ty would tell us to go out there and play.’ That was the response the guys gave us. We let them decide. It was an absolute unanimous response. Not one person raised their hand to say they didn’t want to play.”
A 5-10 guard from Johns Island, S.C., Solomon started for the Bulldogs and played until the 16:02 mark of the first half when he was substituted out. While sitting in a chair on the bench he began to appear disoriented. Initially Solomon appeared to be overheated. S.C. State’s staff members came to his aid. They and his teammates began waving jackets and towels toward him in an effort to cool him.
With 13:08 to play and at 12:20 p.m., Solomon collapsed in his team’s bench area during break in the game action.
At the same time, N.C. State guard Markell Johnson had limped toward his bench and collapsed to the court holding his right knee. While N.C. State’s medical staff was helping him to the locker room, a public address announcement was made asking for a doctor to come to the S.C. State bench.
Solomon was laying flat on his back and appeared unconscious. EMS personnel began administering CPR and an automated external defibrillator was brought out.
The arena fell silent except for cries and audible prayers heard from people near the S.C. State bench. N.C. State’s players gathered in a huddle. N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts sat with and consoled a visibly upset Garvin.
“I don’t want to get into exactly what I said,” Keatts said. “But I just wanted him to know that they would be in our prayers. The young man would be in our prayers, and we would be there for them.”
At the same time, some S.C. State’s players gathered around their bench, with their arms around each other, while others paced around the court. Many prayed.
“Emotionally, while it was happening you are more so just praying that everything works out and trying to make sure that the guys are OK,” Pitt said. “My head coach dropped to his knees and started crying. Everyone for the most part followed suit. We just wished the best for him.”
Solomon was finally taken by stretcher off the floor as the crowd clapped in support.
Both teams left the court and went to their locker rooms.
N.C. State sophomore center Omer Yurtseven said he was so shaken by the event that he called his family in Turkey during the delay.
“I had to call them,” Yurtseven said. “Emotionally, I had to reach out to my family. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them. A situation like that makes you remember that those are the people that you care about.”
The Wolfpack was the first team to return to the court for warmups after an announcement was made that the game would resume.
When S.C. State’s players emerged from their locker room, the PNC Arena crowd gave them a standing ovation.
Play resumed at 1 p.m.
For N.C. State’s Keatts, the situation brought back memories of his time as an assistant coach at Louisville. During a 2013 NCAA tournament regional final game against Duke in Indianapolis, Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a compound fracture in his lower leg when landing after making a jump shot.
“That was another tough situation,” Keatts said. “Not to that extent but something similar to that.”
N.C. State led the game 22-5 with 13:08 to play in the first half when the delay began.