Midfielder: It could have been my last game

The Crowd Roar Guru

By Midfielder, 11 Apr 2012 The Crowd is a Roar Guru

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    My experiences in the last few days have led to thoughts about fate, the meaning of life and what is it all about. And the number 42 – I have read Hitchers Guide to the Galaxy. I guess a near death experience can give you a lot to think about.

    Words don’t come easy. This is an abridged version of a letter I sent to my club.

    I know that I would not be here if it was not for whoever it was on my over 45 social football team who called the ambulance and administered early CPR. In fact, I should be dead on all evidence available.

    I am alive today for only three reasons, first the efforts of the anonymous person mentioned above, and the subsequent actions by the ambulance driver.

    Finally, by most measures, for a 57 year old male I am in excellent physical health regarding both strength and weight. I mention health as most of us that continue to play football do so for a variety of reasons: mateship, to be with friends, the love of the game and as a way of helping to keep fit and a chat with a beer after the game.

    Being fit is very important in surviving a heart attack.

    I have four great loves in life: my family, music, football and SCUBA diving.

    Hopefully I will be able to return to all of these pleasures, but without a doubt I can still enjoy my family and music.

    She who must be obeyed and I have been together since we were twenty, almost 38 years and she is still the single most important person to come into my life. The pleasure of planning our future still burns today and that we can still share a future is for both of us a joy and a huge thanks again.

    My attack happened so fast, and without any warning.

    The morning of the attack, I mowed our lawn, walked to Eastwood with the wife for coffee, having planned to watch the game between the Mariners and Brisbane with pizzas and beers at a mates place.

    I then got an SMS about a match between the over 45s and over 35s. Two sides, I think six a side, and being unknown to everyone I was sent up the front. The game started and my guess is it was going for about a minute when – even though I had hardly moved – I suddenly felt very short of breath and then I can recall starting to fall over. I remember thinking that I thought I was too fit for this.

    The next thing I remember is the ambulance driver arriving, then being placed in the ambulance and parts of the trip to hospital.

    I had both a swelling and narrowing of my artery: a ticking time-bomb. The artery stopped pumping blood and my heart went on the attack and in an effort to get me working again starting beating at an uncontrollable rate, reaching up to 280 beats a minute. My lungs refused to pump oxygen.

    There is a value at the top of your lungs and mine opened and filled my lungs with blood. So as I lay there, my lungs were full of blood and my heart was beating at roughly 280 beats a minute.

    Very few have survived this, talk about being in the right place at the right time. As I said earlier, the phone call to describe my circumstances so that the right type of ambulance was sent was life saving, as was the initial CPR treatment on the field. Without both of these I would have died.

    To everyone who helped me that day, you guys did an absolutely amazing job. All the medical staff have told me that what you did was faultless and medically clinical.

    I don’t remember much, but some things stand out. I remember the ambulance trip had me thinking I am gone. I must thank the paramedic, he also did an amazing job of keeping me alive. At one stage I can recall him standing along side me and rolling me on my side strapping me in, and talking to me.

    I coughed and blood poured out of my mouth. I looked at the floor of the ambulance, it was covered in blood. I lost all bladder and bowel control, I could not breathe as my lungs were full of blood and my heart was bursting (beating at 280 beats). I sensed my eyes were starting to roll around inside my eye sockets.

    At this point I thought I am going to die. The ambulance driver must have read the despair in me, he started telling me what to do and to live I had to stay awake and keep coughing out blood. By this time my body had totally shut down and whatever oxygen they could get in when I coughed out blood was going to my brain. The ambulance driver performed seven defibrillations in the ambulance and somehow forced whatever oxygen he could get into my system.

    I remember being taken out of the ambulance, the next thing I recall was Tuesday about 13:00 when I was woken from a medically induced coma. I was breathing using a breathing device, and then sent home late on Good Friday.

    I received around 42 zaps from the defibrillator, was placed in a medical induced coma for four days, and received two tubes in my main artery. Looking on the bright side, I guess I could say it was not a bad way to get a couple of weeks off work.

    In the present and future there appears to be little long term damage. I should, hopefully, make a full recovery. As for football this season, that is a no no understandably. I need withdraw from this year.

    It’s hard to think of how to say thank you to everyone who helped. But I have an idea to float for discussion.

    When the two over 45s teams play in the second round, I will (after receiving medical clearance) sneak on the field for the opening minute and play 30 seconds for both teams. I would love it if you guys would let me bring drinks for that match.

    Again from myself, my wife, boys, sister and other extended family and friends you have my deepest thanks and gratitude.

    Cheers to everyone who helped.

    I am glad to be alive.

    Phillip Hughes has tragically passed away. RIP Phil, and The Roar's thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
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