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'Massive heart attack': Club rugby player collapses on field; wife gives CPR

Author
Lincoln Tan,
Publish Date
Sun, 12 May 2024, 1:45pm

'Massive heart attack': Club rugby player collapses on field; wife gives CPR

Author
Lincoln Tan,
Publish Date
Sun, 12 May 2024, 1:45pm

Stunned spectators watched as a rugby player collapsed and was given CPR, including by his wife, during a match at the Silverdale Rugby Club on Saturday.

Hato Hone St John told the Herald it was notified of a medical event in Silverdale at 3.30pm yesterday and responded with two rapid response units and one ambulance.

“Our crews assessed and treated one patient who was transported to Auckland hospital in a critical condition,” the St John spokesman said.

The incident happened during a match between Silverdale Rugby (SURSC) Under 85s and the Massey Panthers at the Silverdale grounds.

The St John spokesman said it was unable to confirm if the incident resulted from an injury due to patient privacy.

A rugby player was taken to hospital in a critical condition. File photo / 123rf
A rugby player was taken to hospital in a critical condition. File photo / 123rf

An eyewitness said spectators and fans were “left stunned” as the Massey player lay motionless on the ground and was being treated with a defibrillator and CPR.

“It was an uneasy feeling, especially after what happened at Beachlands just a couple of weeks ago,” said the witness, a Silverdale supporter who was at the game.

On April 27, rugby player Cory Heather, 33, died after suffering a head knock during a match between Beachlands Maraetai and Patumāhoe in Beachlands.

“About 10 minutes before the first half was finished, a Massey player had fallen over on the field and he was having seizure,” The witness said.

“I think it was his son, who was also one of the players on Massey’s team, that ran over and asked people to stop playing because his dad was seizuring.”

The witness said believed the player had taken a knock on the head during a tackle and “got up and appeared all good” just before he went down.

“The ref called half-time early because of the event, and they ended moving the game into a different field so that the play could continue,” they said.

“There was then talk that he had a heart attack, so someone ran to the rugby club to get a defibrillator while another person was giving him CPR.”

The witness said St John arrived and then attended to the player “for a good 20 to 30 minutes” before taking the man in an ambulance to hospital.

“Obviously what happened was hard to see and it left spectators stunned, especially with the Beachlands incident from two weeks ago still fresh on minds,” they said.

But Hugh Goddard, chairman of Silverdale Rugby and Sports Club, said the player had a cardiac arrest and his collapse was not due to a head knock.

“Fortunately, due to some quick thinking of spectators who were off-duty paramedics and the presence of an AED at the club, the individual was given first aid and was able to be tended by the ambulance service,” Goddard said.

Courtney Wenzlick, the Massey U85 rugby manager, said there was “a speculation around the fields and the sidelines” that it was a head knock.

“But it wasn’t a head knock, it was a very massive heart attack,” Wenzlick said.

“The player is doing fine, he’s had two stents in, and a scan to check there’s no brain damage due to him not breathing at one stage.

“That’s come out all clear.”

Wenzlick said he was first on the scene with the player’s wife and the two off-duty paramedics.

His wife was an ICU nurse who gave him CPR, and the defibrillator was used to shock and stabilize him.

Wenzlick said in a WhatsApp group message at 9.40am today that the brain scans “have all come back clear”, which was “great news”.

His subsequent update at 12.40pm said the victim was now awake.

“They woke him this morning, he seems okay but it’s early days.”

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here.

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