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The ‘Incredible Hulk’ is also a reserve sheriff’s deputy for the Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo county sheriff’s departments.
Rachel Ohm/ News Sentinel.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A father and son at the Fanboy Expo Comic Con got some unexpected help from a live action hero Friday

Frank McAlister, in a Facebook post, said he and his son, Ted, were at the comic convention in Knoxville to meet the people behind the animated characters he grew up watching.

Ted had his picture taken with Lou Ferrigno — best known for portraying the Incredible Hulk in the 1978 Marvel Comics character-based TV show of the same name — and the two stopped to talk with the actor and bodybuilder. 

That’s when he noticed Ted was shaking and having difficulty getting his words out, Ferrigno told USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee in a Sunday interview.

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Ferrigno leaned over to Frank and told him Ted was trying to say something he couldn’t understand, according to the post.

“I turned and knew immediately that Ted was having a seizure,” wrote McAlister, whose Facebook profile says he lives in Philadelphia, Tenn. He did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Ferrigno said he ran to grab hold of Ted before he collapsed and then cleared the booth where they were standing. McAlister helped Ted sit on the floor. Ferrigno called for paramedics.

“(They) responded immediately but the whole time the Incredible Hulk made sure I had everything I needed,” McAlister wrote. 

Why was Lou Ferrigno so calm?

Ferrigno, who volunteers as a sheriff’s deputy when he’s not playing the role of the Incredible Hulk, said when Ted started to collapse and fall backwards, he immediately began running through a list in his head of what could be going on — whether it was a stroke, a diabetic attack, a heart attack or something else.

“I ran to grab him and make sure he wouldn’t injure himself, and his father immediately said it was a seizure,” Ferrigno said. “I’m glad he sat down and we got a support on his head and got the paramedics in right away and kept him calm. I told him, ‘Come on back later and take another picture.’ Thank God he was OK.”

After a visit with an EMT, Ted recovered and was able to go back for the picture, according to McAlister’s post, which included the photo of his son standing next to Ferrigno, both smiling and flexing their muscles.

“Talk about a real life Action Hero!” McAlister wrote. “This man is the real deal. It was an absolute honor to shake his hand and a greater honor to say Thank You to a gentle Giant.” 

Ferrigno, however, said he wasn’t doing anything that he wouldn’t normally do in his work as a sheriff’s deputy.

He volunteers 20 to 30 hours per month as a reserve deputy for both the Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo county sheriff’s departments. He’s also deputized in eight other states and on Sunday was wearing a pin of a pink sheriff’s star from Webb County, Texas.

“It’s funny it happened at my table and it’s like … I’m glad it happened here because he was at the right place,” Ferrigno said. “If it was a strange environment, like the street, he could have died.”

Follow Rachel Ohm on Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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