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NCAA ref Bert Smith reveals what led to scary fall during men’s tournament

Bert Smith, the NCAA official who fainted during an Elite Eight matchup between Gonzaga and USC last week, said Friday he collapsed over a blood clot in his lung.

The scary moment was caught live during the Bulldogs-Trojans matchup. Smith fell and was immediately attended to by medical personnel. The 56-year-old veteran referee was carried off the court on a stretcher. Smith revealed in a lengthy interview with the Indianapolis Star the fall may have saved him.

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He said the fall was related to a blood clot in his lung.

“It puts in perspective the value of each day, because we all go through our lives — we’re all guilty of it — and we just live, right?” he told the newspaper. “But do we say ‘I love you’ enough? Do we give an extra hug enough? Do we do the things with our family and friends that have value to them? When you live something like I did, it hits you square in the eyes that you really have to value each day.”

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According to the Indianapolis Star, Smith was placed on blood thinners and two days later the clot was gone. Smith tested positive for the coronavirus in August, but doctors were reportedly unsure whether the clot had anything to do with COVID-19.

Smith said, in a way, he was grateful the fall happened during the tournament and not when he was driving.

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According to kenpom.com, the Gonzaga-USC game was the 70th matchup Smith worked this season.

Fox News’ Daniel Canova contributed to this report.

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