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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Steinbrenner faints at service

Yankees’ owner admitted to hospital after collapsing

December 28, 2003

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— New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner collapsed at a Florida memorial service for a close friend Saturday and was rushed to a hospital.

Without warning, the 73-year-old baseball icon passed out and fell to the floor -- stunning fellow mourners who feared he was having a heart attack.

As the crowd rushed to help him, Steinbrenner quickly regained consciousness. He was listed in stable condition Saturday night.

"Right now, he's doing fine," said Paul Dezzi of the Sarasota County Fire Department, which came to Steinbrenner's aid.

The Boss was in a chatty mood when he reached the emergency room, grateful to the paramedics for their fast response to the 911 call.

"Thanks for the service. It was very good," Steinbrenner told them.

The alarming incident happened at a memorial service for Steinbrenner's longtime pal Otto Graham, the Hall of Fame football great who died Dec. 17.

Steinbrenner, who lives in Tampa, walked into the Church of the Palms-Presbyterian-USA in Sarasota alone, without any fanfare.

He watched an emotional slide show about Graham's life that included photos of the two of them together, and then Graham's daughter-in-law stood to speak.

"She got about two sentences in and all of a sudden he fell forward -- like he was reaching for a chair and missed it," said Don Guercio, a TV station owner who was a few feet away. "He just went down and I was probably the first person there," Guercio told the Daily News. "I looked down and realized it was George Steinbrenner."

There was "pandemonium," with people yelling for a doctor and others dialing 911.

"People were stunned. They started loosening his tie and his collar," said Doug Fernandes, a writer for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "He was out for a few seconds."

Paramedics were there in four minutes, and Steinbrenner was already conscious by then.

"When we arrived, he was alert and talkative. He was very talkative in the ambulance," Dezzi said.

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