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A week ago, they had little more than similar names in common.

Now, Ty Solomon and Tyler Long have a link that neither young man will ever forget.

Early on Saturday afternoon, as a national TV audience watched the South Carolina State men's basketball team play at North Carolina State, Solomon was off the court from his point guard position, seated on the Bulldogs' bench.

Suddenly, Solomon lost consciousness and collapsed on the bench. As S.C. State coaches and teammates watched, Long -- in his first year with the Bulldogs -- sprang into action to do his job as the team's athletic trainer. He began CPR compressions on Solomon's chest, continuing until the redshirt senior's heart restarted and he began breathing again.

Local Raleigh EMS personnel quickly placed Solomon on a stretcher and transported him to nearby Rex Hospital, where he has been undergoing tests and medical staff observations since.

As of Monday afternoon, Solomon (formerly of Charleston Collegiate) and Long (formerly of USC Sports Medicine) had turned down the many requests since Saturday to be interviewed by local, state and national media.

Saturday night, however, Solomon did post a photo on his Facebook page of himself in a hospital bed, surrounded by Long and the other first responders who took care of him in his time of need.

"I am very thankful to have had this group of guys in my life," Solomon posted. "I’m feeling blessed these guys literally saved my life using CPR; such a blessing and perfect timing, thank you guys again."

S.C. State head men's basketball coach Murray Garvin, who left PNC Arena and went to the hospital with Solomon, was back in Orangeburg with the rest of the team on Monday, practicing for a Tuesday game at Presbyterian College in Clinton at 7 p.m.

Despite being overwhelmed by media requests for interviews and emails from around the country and around the world, Garvin said he and his coaching staff and team are looking forward to pressing on with the season, as Solomon recovers and remains in their thoughts and prayers.

"They are still running tests (on Solomon) and they are still trying to figure it out," Garvin said. "He's got some tough days ahead, that's about all I can say at this point. I'm just so glad we had Tyler there with us, and our athletic trainers are just as important as our coaches. Tyler is a first-class guy and his work speaks for itself; he was able to operate in that moment, was prepared and able to do what needed to be done for Ty.

"This is not like an injury, but it is. We're a man down, but we've got a game tomorrow. We've got to continue to show resiliency."

The rest of the Bulldogs' team voted unanimously to return to the court on Saturday after a 40-minute delay and complete the game. They lost 103-71 to the Wolfpack, but then went to the hospital to visit with Solomon.

"They voted to play on to honor their teammate, and the best coaching staff I could ask for took over and led them the rest of the way," Garvin said. "Now we have Presbyterian on Tuesday, and a bunch of the guys are taking final exams today. It's just adversity you have to work through."

Solomon is an engineering major at S.C. State who would, normally, be taking his final exams to finish out the semester this week. But his health is the priority at the moment. And news of the health scare and how it was handled has spread like wildfire.

"The last 48 hours, I've gotten emails and texts and tweets from everywhere, even as far away as Spain," Garvin said. "This is an international story, I guess. That moment became more than a game, but it became like an Olympic moment, when it was about community and unity.

"The world looks for feel-good stories. It didn't feel good while we were in it, not at all. But to know that he is eventually going to be OK, and what was displayed in that arena by the N.C. State fans shows the power of sports and how it can unite people. But the main thing is to get Ty healthy again. That is my top concern, that and trying to keep this team focused and keep myself focused."

Garvin credits Solomon with having great court vision and basically being the quarterback of the offense on the basketball court.

"He is probably one of the best passers and IQ guys that I've ever coached," Garvin said. "He has a strong understanding of the game.

"He wants to be a coach, and he'll be a great one. But I told him he is going to make more money as an engineer. So I told him to plan to be an engineer and coach on the side. We're going to miss him, but our guys are going to step in and step up. You've got to respond to adversity; that's part of life. I'm just glad that Ty is alive."

Solomon has been visited in the hospital by more than just his family and teammates, as S.C. State athletic director Stacy Danley, N.C. State players and coaches, N.C. State fans and school administrators, along with local school kids have stopped in to see how he is doing.

"I told Ty he has a platform now," Garvin said. "From here on out, you are a survivor and people want to hear your story.

"He's got an incredible spirit and he is persevering through it. We're not even in conference play yet, as a team, but I'm not even thinking about wins and losses right now. I'm thankful to be coaching these guys and involved in their lives at this point. We will prepare and we will get some wins. But you want to make sure everybody is OK. Games don't compare to life."

The Bulldogs play at home again on Thursday at 6 p.m. against Brevard College inside Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.


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