After winning this week’s Maui Invitational, the top-ranked Tar Heels were set to begin a long trek back to Chapel Hill, N.C., when their travel plans hit a snag. As American Airlines Flight No. 6 backed away from the gate, a passenger in seat 25C was discovered unconscious.
When attempts to wake him failed, a flight attendant yelled for assistance from some "big, strong basketball players." Within seconds, Hansbrough had sprung from his seat six rows up and rushed to the man’s side.
Hansbrough, teammate Deon Thompson and video coordinator Eric Hoots then lifted 45-year-old Melvin Ridley into the air. Holding him chest-high, they carried him to the galley, where paramedics rendered aid for nearly 30 minutes.
Once Ridley became responsive, he was removed from the plane and transported to a nearby hospital.
"It was a scary situation," North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams said, "but I was proud to see how our guys responded. I’m sure there are some people who saw that and thought, ‘Those are some really good kids on the North Carolina basketball team.’"
If anything, it speaks well of the University of North Carolina.