All leg injuries aside, Tyler Hansbrough has a pretty good life. He’s the reigning college basketball player of the year, he goes to school on a gorgeous campus in a warm climate and he can probably choose from a full crop of co-eds. Well, if that sounds good, you can add “hero” to the superlatives the man from Poplar Bluff, Missouri already has on his resume.
After rolling through a completely overmatched field at the Maui Invitational, North Carolina flew back to Chapel Hill on Thanksgiving Day. But, according to Jason King of YAHOO, when their plane backed out of its gate, a man was discovered unconscious. When flight attendants asked for help, Hansbrough, teammate Deon Thompson and video coordinator Eric Hoots ran to the man’s seat, lifted him out and carried him back into the airport, where he received first aid for half an hour and was then transported to a nearby hospital.
There you go, Tyler Hansbrough: paramedic. That might have seemed out of his grasp from the sound of his post-game interviews, but now we know better. Of course, he probably has ample practice with broken noses and facial contusions, so maybe he has a leg up on med school.
The unconscious man, later identified as 45-year-old Melvin Ridley, is scheduled to be released from the hospital today and take the next flight back to his home in Texas. As for American Airlines flight 6 was concerned, it made the rest of the trip back to North Carolina without incident.
“It’s a blessing that all of this happened before the plane left the ground,” Lester Banks, Ridley’s cousin said. “If this had happened up in the air … who knows how it would’ve turned out.
“I wasn’t able to tell those players how much I appreciated their help. We’re going to do everything we can to get in touch with them and to let them know how much (their actions) meant to us. They were class acts.”
No word on how Hansbrough plans to follow up his first act of heroism, but odds are good that it involves a significant amount of rebounding and, if he’s lucky, put-back bunnies. Interpret “bunnies” as you will.
DEADSPIN: Video Coordinator, Deon Thompson and Some Other Player Act Heroically