'Terrifying moment': Basketball rocked by referee's on-court collapse

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Veteran college referee Bert Smith (pictured left) falling back and (pictured right) lying on the floor as players and fans help him.
Veteran college referee Bert Smith (pictured left) collapsed during a basketball match and was unconscious (pictured right) on the floor as players and fans helped him. (Images: Twitter/Getty Images)

The basketball world has reacted in shock after a veteran official collapsed on court during play, which had onlookers terrified.

During an Elite Eight college basketball match between Gonzaga and USC Indianapolis, official Bert Smith fell back and hit his head on the baseline.

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The camera and the crowds attention was on the other side of the court, but Gonzaga's Tommy Lloyd immediately noticed the fall and sprinted over to help Smith.

The official was on the ground for more than five minutes before being stretchered off with around 15:44 minutes remaining in the first half.

Smith was able to regain consciousness before being taken off, but fans were still in shock after the 'terrifying' moment.

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Official recovers after 'terrifying' fall

No information has been released about why Smith collapsed, but he was able to recover after the fall and didn't need to go to the hospital.

“Bert Smith, an official assigned to work the Gonzaga-Southern California regional final, left tonight’s game after a medical issue,” a NCAA statement read.

Referee Bert Smith is helped off the court by training staff and medical personnel after collapsing.
Referee Bert Smith is helped off the court by training staff and medical personnel after collapsing during the first half of the Elite Eight round game between the USC Trojans and the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“Bert is alert and stable and will not be transported to a hospital. He has been in contact with his family.”

Gonzaga Bulldogs went on to remain undefeated for the season and claim a 85-66 victory.

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