Heart attack survivor campaigns for defibrillators at sporting fields

A month after a heart attack during a hockey game, Tamworth’s Mark Hooper is back on the field and scoring goals — and very happy to be there. He will never forget what started as a typical Saturday afternoon four weeks ago.

The match was not going well, but a pep talk from the coach at half-time had everyone keen to get back on and turn a 2-0 deficit into a win. It worked and the team was 4-2 ahead when Mr Hooper was subbed off. Seconds later, in the sideline dugout, Mr Hooper recalls reaching for a drink and instead, hitting the ground.

The 39-year-old said he had no way to describe the incredible amount of luck that was with him that day. Not only were there four people close at hand to begin CPR immediately, but the hockey club owned a defibrillator.

“The stars aligned, that’s all I can say,” Mr Hooper said.


Imagine a Monday morning like any other… You walk into the office and make yourself a cup a coffee whilst catching up with your team about the weekend. All of a sudden, you hear the violent sound of a cup smashing and see one of your employees fall to the ground – unconscious, not breathing, with no pulse.

What would you do?

If the answer is “I don’t know,” the tragic reality is that without immediate CPR and a shock from a defibrillator (or ‘defib’), that person – your employee – would likely die within minutes.

As an employer, you’re responsible for the health and safety of your employees, but in order to be fully prepared you must first understand the number one risk facing Australia today – sudden cardiac arrest.

Winner in Wagga!

A few weeks ago the Defib team got up at the crack of dawn and set off on a 5 hour road trip to Wagga Wagga, NSW. The reason for our travels was to meet up with the fantastic team from Wollundry Rotary who we have set up a new partnership with to “Defib Wagga”!
There is a passionate group of people lead by Travis Downie who has been personally effected by Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Travis has a great story to tell as there is a positive outcome, because he had access to an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Defibrillator saves footballer’s life after heart attack during soccer match

SOMETIMES it takes something terrible for something fantastic to happen.

When Michael “Mickey” Dean died last August after suffering chest pains playing for Southern and Ettalong United Football Club, his wife Peta campaigned for defibrillators to be installed at sports grounds. One such device at Umina Oval saved its first life after Nathan Mark suffered a heart attack playing for the Gosford City Dragons the weekend before last.

The 40-year-old was kept alive by team mates, as well as players from Umina and a surf lifesaver who just happened to be at the ground at the time, until paramedics arrived.

How to prevent sudden cardiac arrest

There may be a way to stave off what is almost always a fatal condition. Patients with faulty hearts may have a four-week window to avert death, according to new research.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), in which the heart abruptly stops beating (as opposed to the circulation blockage of a heart attack), was previously thought to happen unexpectedly, without any warning.

But in fact, many victims of these sudden stoppages may ignore the symptoms, a study published on Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found.

“There’s this window of opportunity that we really didn’t know existed,” lead author Dr Sumeet Chugh said in a statement.

Defibrillators to be rolled out at all Blacktown sporting fields

DEFIBRILLATORS for up to 30,000 athletes will be rolled out across sporting grounds after a $252,000 allocation. Blacktown will be the first council to have defibrillators at all its sports grounds.

During a cardiac arrest, defibrillators work by applying high voltage (between 200 to 1000 volts) to send an electric current through the heart to shock it into beating normally again. Elite young athletes are most vulnerable to cardiac arrests. The Heart Foundation said every passing minute without intervention reduced the rate of survival by 10 per cent. The defibrillators are expected to be rolled out by September.

Help was just a heartbeat away when Tony Collins collapsed at Florida Beach Bar

Tony Collins, (second from left), with his daughter Kelly Drover, Chris Beath, Florida Beach Bar manager and Diandra Jones, duty manager, at Crowne Plaza, Terrigal. Tony suffered a heart attack but was saved by Chris and Diandra, using their defibrillator on site.

AS UNLIKELY as it may seem when Tony Collins went into sudden cardiac arrest, short of an emergency department, the pub was the safest place he could have been­.

The otherwise fit and healthy 65-year-old was unwinding with a few beers at the Florida Beach Bar at Terrigal on April 14 when he collapsed about 5pm.

It just so happened Berkeley Vale Private Hospital’s director of nursing Marilyn Clayton was getting her hair done just metres away at The Society for Hair and came rushing out still draped in a cape.

Bar manager Chris Beath also came to Mr Collins’ aid with a defibrillator – one of the few pubs on the Coast with such a device.

“It was on the third shock I started breathing again,” Mr Collins said.

“Without the defibrillator I was gone. The pub (was) the only place I would have been safe, 100 per cent right place at the right time. If I had been driving and gone into cardiac arrest I could have killed someone.”

Dispelling the MYTHS!

Often the best inspiration comes from your customers. Well the past 10 days Defib has been out and about in the market place – Auckland, Adelaide, Melbourne and Wagga! That’s a few miles to cover, but its all been with the aim of continuing the education of the community of the necessity of having a defibrillator in their communities.

We have been asked some great questions; we have been able to dispel a number of myths and importantly the Defib team has been able to place a number of new defibrillators in a variety of communities.

So instead of keeping that data to ourselves, or waiting for the next marketing newsletter to come out, we thought we would share a few with you.

Do you have to be trained to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)?

No, anyone can use it. At Defib For Life as part of our package we include a training session with all of our units to ensure that people are comfortable on how to use the AED in case of emergency and to encourage any questions.

If one of our players has SCA on the field and it’s raining, do we need to pull them out of the rain?

When faced with an emergency situation, it’s best to follow your first aid training in regards to ensuring that a victim is safe in their surroundings and you protect them, their necks and spine. In regards to using a defibrillator, the Defib for Life recommended units are resistant to moisture and dust, so taking them out of a controlled environment to the sporting field or the school playground is perfectly safe. We would recommend the patient be moved should they be lying in a pool of water, being mindful of other injuries.

Not all AED units offer this, so be mindful when selecting an AED.

Cricket Australia Independent Review of Phillip Hughes Death – Defibrillators at all First Class Matches

Sport is a past time that we in Australia take for granted. We all head out most weekends to enjoy playing our favourite sport or to watch our kids or partners partake. Great fitness, great fun – it’s what it should be.

There are then our sporting heroes. Men and women who make it to the elite level of their chosen sport – and this story is about Phillip Hughes. The incident that caused the fatal injury and subsequent death was a tragedy indeed.

Cricket Australia has conducted a thorough independent review of the former Test Cricketers death and come up with a series of recommendations to be implemented in at all first-class cricket in Australia. The report is very detailed and there are some 65 points to go through which cover the circumstance in with injury occurred; what the injury was; if the equipment was sufficient, flawed or required review; and interestingly items 53-56 refers to “Injuries of the Heart”.

More first response emergency care in northern Illawarra

Northern Illawarra Chamber of Commerce has helped secure two new defibrillators at Helensburgh Library and Thirroul District Community Centre and Library.

Chamber Vice President Tanya Parry came up with the idea.

“I reviewed our local surroundings and immediately noted a lack of resources, in particular, the absence of a local accessible emergency department. With the population of Helensburgh and Thirroul containing almost 20,000 people, this is a serious concern. The community response has been overwhelmingly thankful,” she said.