Huntsville city councilman Mark Russell receiving national sports spirit award

Russell didn't let a heart attack keep him on the sidelines when it came to his work as a high school football referee.

Posted: Mar. 12, 2018 12:06 PM

Huntsville City Councilman Mark Russell will receive a national high school sports award, almost a year after collapsing on a high school football field while officiating a game.

Russell will receive the National High School Spirit of Sport Award from the National Federation of State High School Associations July 20 in Montgomery.

Russell was officiating a football game between Madison Academy and McCallie Academy when he collapsed from a heart attack. A nurse who was on the sidelines revived him with CPR.

Russell was taken to Huntsville Hospital, where he received a stent in a blocked artery. He returned to the field a month and a half later to deliver a coin toss at a Madison Academy football game.

Russell's award is for Section 3 of the National Federation of State High School Associations, which covers eight states in the southeast.

Russell has served on Huntsville City Council since 2002. He has said he does not plan to seek re-election this year.

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