Mid-game drama: Footballer's life saved

Action ground to a halt at Seddon Fields in Western Springs, Auckland, when an otherwise fit football player collapsed mid-game and went into cardiac arrest.

Fortunately for Geoff Brogan the quick actions of his fellow club mates and a handy defibrillator on site have saved his life.

Fellow club members Douglas Robinson and Dr Rees Tapsell, a local policeman and an unnamed young nurse were all credited for his survival, working together to perform CPR for a good quarter of an hour before the ambulance arrived.

Dr Tapsell, a psychiatrist, was on field with his team mate when he saw Mr Brogan go down and quickly realised it was more than just a minor injury.

"It was relatively clear he was having a hypoxic seizure [a seizure caused by lack of oxygen to the brain]."

He said it was amazing to see how quickly everyone jumped into action.

Dr Tapsell began mouth to mouth, while Mr Robinson commenced chest compressions.
When Mr Robinson tired, the young policeman stepped in, while the nurse coordinated the action and others cleared the crowd, called 111 and opened the gates to the field for the ambulance to pass through.

An eye-witness, who didn't want to be named, said there was a "deathly silence" across the fields as everyone looked on.

Dr Tapsell believed his fellow teammate stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest twice. By the second attack a defibrillator was on hand to give Mr Brogan's heart the necessary shock.

However, Dr Tapsell was quick to brush away any credit for his actions.

"I'm a doctor...but these two guys aren't health professionals, they learnt to do CPR in the workplace and just jumped in and did their thing."

Mr Robinson was equally reluctant to accept any praise for saving Mr Brogan's life, saying he was just one of a team who stepped up as needed.

"I just had tunnel vision, I was just concentrating on what was happening," he said. "But I knew we were doing our best to help him."

Mr Robinson said fortunately his job, at Ports of Auckland, had regularly given them a "fantastic first aid course" but this was the first time he'd had to put it to use.

The Heart Foundation's medical director Dr Gerry Devlin said the incident highlighted the importance of a prompt response by those trained in CPR and easy access to a defibrillator.

"Defibrillators save lives, there's no two ways about it," he said. "I would encourage all New Zealander's to learn CPR and do a refresher course very few years."
Dr Tapsell also urged football clubs to have defibrillators readily available and to encourage members to learn CPR.

"It's the difference between someone living and dying."

Mr Brogan and his wife weren't able to be reached for comment today but fellow teammates reported he was doing well and was receiving appropriate medical treatment.

- NZ Herald

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