Bert Smith, the official who collapsed during the Elite Eight, believes his fall could have saved his life.
Further examination revealed Smith, 56, had a blood clot in his lung, the Indianapolis Star reported on Friday.
Early in the West Region final between Gonzaga and USC at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Smith hit the floor and stayed down for several minutes. Eventually, he regained consciousness, and was taken off on a stretcher. He was alert and later went to a hospital.
“You don’t know where that clot was going next,” Smith said. “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?
“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.”
Smith has been an NCAA Division I official since 1993.