Longtime Maine basketball commissioner Peter Webb is battling for his life in a Portland hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm at his Stetson home late last week.
“He had a pretty good day yesterday and I’m waiting to hear today,” Mike Webb, the youngest of his four children, said Thursday morning.
The elder Webb, 82, had returned home after attending the funeral of longtime former Eastern Maine basketball tournament director Bill Fletcher last Friday when he went out for a ride with his wife Marie on their pontoon boat, Mike Webb said.
After returning from the boat ride Webb complained of a bad headache and when the situation didn’t improve, his wife called 911 and he was transported late Friday evening to St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor.
Webb eventually was put on life support and on Saturday was taken by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where doctors inserted a catheter through his leg and up to his head to relieve the pressure on his brain.
“I guess they got him to Portland in the nick of time,” Mike Webb said. “The doctors there couldn’t believe that he even made it.
“Saturday before they put the ventilator on I kissed him on the forehead, said, ‘I love you’ and thought probably that would be the last time I’d see him.”
Webb said subsequent medical procedures have been successful in draining the accumulated blood from his father’s brain.
“Yesterday that turned clear, so for what’s happened it’s a miracle,” he said. “We don’t know about the recovery yet. The next few days are really critical as to whether there’s brain damage or how his motor skills are. We just don’t know.”
Webb has been a fixture in the Maine sports world since his playing days as a baseball and basketball standout at Houlton High School and Ricker College in Houlton.
He went on to complement a career in education with 55 years as a certified official, primarily in basketball and baseball.
Webb recently retired after 27 years as the state’s commissioner of basketball, that term following 13 years as assistant commissioner. He has been inducted into both the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
Webb became a national figure in the refereeing ranks through his 17-year tenure as coordinator of rule interpreters for the world’s largest basketball officials organization, the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials.
Webb also was on the association’s executive committee for 13 years, capped off by a term as president in 2002.
Webb served two four-year terms on the basketball rules committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations and has remained a resource person and historian for that panel.
Those officiating skills have remained in evidence even as Webb has fought to recover from his current illness.
“He had a great day [Tuesday] but it was almost too much too quick,” Mike Webb said. “His relatives were there, there were quite a few visitors and we and we had the All-Star Game on TV because baseball’s always been his first love.
“He’d open his eyes, and at one point he was doing some referee signals.”
Mike Webb said his family, including brothers Peter Jr. and Kyle and sister Elizabeth, have appreciated all the support they have received in the aftermath of their father’s illness.
‘There’s been telephone calls from all over the country,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support and we really appreciate it.
“Everything being considered, the next few days are critical. We just hope he can get through this and have some quality of life if it goes well.”