Two Virginia teens are suddenly more than just baseball teammates after a near-death experience during a practice July 14, NBC Washington reports. Steve Smith was running the bases when a throw from the catcher inadvertently nailed him under his left armpit, causing cardiac arrest. “His heart stopped immediately," his father and coach, Tim Smith, tells ABC News. "When I got to him he was stiff, like his body was trying to breathe but his eyes were rolled back in his head." Teammate Paul Dow started performing CPR, a skill he had recently learned during lifeguard training. Dow tells NBC that performing CPR on Smith “felt like I was having a spiritual conversation with him.” Twelve minutes after Dow started CPR, medics arrived and used a defibrillator to restart Smith's heart.
Smith was unconscious for a few days but woke up July 17 feeling fine. Tim Smith credits Dow for preventing his son from suffering brain damage and probably saving his life. “It’s a miracle,” he tells ABC. Dow says God helped him save his teammate. “There is no way in heck I did that by myself,” he tells Fox 5. Smith says he likely wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Dow. "Before the accident, we were friends," he tells NBC. "Now, we're actually brothers.”