MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (May 30, 2017) – There are those who like to say that “volleyball is life.”
Jeff Moody can say that he is probably alive because of volleyball.
Moody, 53, was competing at the 2017 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in Minneapolis with his team Sports Imports/Outsiders out of Dayton, Ohio. His father, Don, 75, was competing in the 73-plus division with SEC 73s. His son, Levi, 26, was picked up by Notorious BB to compete in the men’s BB division.
The first time the three Dayton residents competed in the same Open National Championships was in 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. The experience proved to be momentous for another, bigger reason.
“We were warming up for a match. I was standing there like I am right now and I just fell backwards,” Jeff Moody said. “They called it cardiac death. I just quit breathing.”
Other players jumped into action. A player from Canada who was an EMT did CPR while a Venezuelan athlete, who was a heart doctor, used the automated external defibrillator (AED) on Moody. Other players also assisted.
“They shocked me two times there on the floor. They got me in an ambulance and shocked me one more time.”
Doctors did five heart bypasses on Moody that day, along with putting seven staple in the back of his head, which he hit when he fell.
“They said if I had been anywhere else – because we had the AED – I might not have made it.”
Three months later, he was back playing volleyball. Moody, who works for the city of Dayton, continues to be monitored, but hasn’t had further issues.
“I don’t smoke. I watch what I eat. It’s just a family history.”
The three generations of Moodys have played in every Open Championships since then.
Don, who grew up with seven brothers, said they all played volleyball from the time he was very young. He started competing at Open Nationals when he was in his late 20s.
“I love it, but it (looks like) such a slow game,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s fast for us. I can’t get off the floor. But it’s fun. I watch all the other guys and they are in the same situation.”
Despite pressure from his parents and grandfather, Levi, who teaches physical education in Dayton, did not play organized volleyball until after college.
“I played every other sport you can think of. Even some semi-pro softball,” he said. “I should have done (volleyball) way before.”