A strange set of circumstances and the calm and united approach of so many went a long way to saving a life at a Dubbo sportsground on Saturday.
Rugby Red all-rounder Brett Paul suffered a heart attack and collapsed at John McGrath 1 after making 60 in his side’s RSL-Kelly Cup third grade match against RSL-Colts Paramount.
But after a spectator and a teammate provided CPR and a defibrillator located at the clubhouse was used, Paul was then transported by ambulance to hospital and is now in a stable condition.
There were many events which led to Paul being helped by so many, the main being a lack of cricket matches in Dubbo on the weekend.
The rain on Friday night meant neither of Rugby or Colts’ first and second grade sides were in action. A host of the players then turned out to support their third grade sides and were at the Rugby Red-Colts Paramount fixture.
“Normally at third grade there’s just older blokes and young kids and many others around just watching the game,” Rugby stalwart Glenn Shepherd, who was at the ground, said.
“There were a lot of us there who had kids playing and we were very lucky there were people there who worked on him.”
Shepherd’s wife, Tamara, was the first responder and worked on Paul before Rugby Red teammates Garry Goodman took over.
Dubbo Regional Council’s Sporting Asset Coordinator and RSL-Colts first grader, Wes Giddings, was also on hand and he ensured the defibrillator was located and used.
“It (defibrillator) is an amazing bit of technology,” Shepherd said.
“I have no doubt if that work of Tam and Garry and that piece of technology didn’t save his life, it went very close to doing that.”
Paul was taken to hospital in Orange and after undergoing surgery and spending Saturday night in the intensive care unit he finished the weekend in a stable condition.
“He’s on the way to recovery,” Shepherd said, his family having been in touch with Paul’s partner, Kris.
“He’s up and talking and making smart remarks so he must be getting better.”
While Shepherd described the entire incident as “horrible”, he said the outcome and way people worked together was a real positive.
He had nothing but praise for the ambulance staff who were on hand in a “quick and calm” manner while he also said an initiative run in the cricket community earlier this season proved worthwhile as well.
Shepherd was one of the many who attended a seminar run by the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) in conjunction with the Baggy Blues visit late last year, something that focused on the need to look out for mates and talk to each other.
“It’s about support,” he said.
“There’s been so many messages on social media and calls for him and that just goes to show we all need to keep an eye out for each other.
“It was an unsettling experience but that was something I really took out of that RAMHP seminar.”
Shepherd added the experience was one which shows the value in being up-to-date with first aid qualifications, something his wife and Goodman have done.