A principal was brought back to life by a group of soccer-playing paramedics after his heart stopped during a social game.

Brian Field, from Bethlehem School in Tauranga, had played the first half of his weekly game of social soccer at the TECT Arena when he collapsed at the side of the field and went into cardiac arrest.

A team of St John paramedics had just finished their game and were celebrating in the arena's cafe when word spread that someone had collapsed.

Intensive care paramedic Steven Pasquali said the crew immediately began CPR on Mr Field.


"He wasn't breathing. His heart had stopped. He was in the recovery position so we put him on his back and began CPR."

The arena had vital life-saving medical equipment - an automatic external defibrillator - and together with CPR and one shock, Mr Field's heart returned to a normal rhythm.

"We did about six minutes of CPR in total then he came back," Mr Pasquali said.

From his bed in Tauranga Hospital's coronary care unit, Mr Field said the last thing he remembered was being short of breath.

"I was getting over the flu so I thought it was something to do with that. Then I had a bit of burning in the chest so I came off at halftime to sit on the side because I felt dizzy.

"The only thing I can describe it like is like an old black and white TV. They crackle, then they go black. That's what it felt like, and that's my last memory."

Mr Field's teammates saw him sprawled out on his back but thought he was resting.

When a rogue ball passed near Mr Field and he didn't respond, his teammates and the umpire realised something was wrong and put him in the recovery position.

The St John team performed CPR on Mr Field for four minutes, shocked him once then continued CPR for a further two minutes.

Mr Pasquali said the quick timing of CPR and the availability of a defibrillator saved Mr Field's life.

"The earlier you can do CPR, the better because it helps keep the heart, brain and lungs stay oxygenated. And the fact TECT had a defibrillator was fantastic. It saved his life," he said.

Mr Field was to be transferred to Waikato Hospital for bypass surgery.