Waterpolo player Mick Gooley, of Lennox Head, had a lucky escape after suffering a heart attack during a waterpolo game. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Waterpolo player Mick Gooley, of Lennox Head, had a lucky escape after suffering a heart attack during a waterpolo game. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Man saved by quick thinking nursing student

IT WAS a case of being in the right place at the right time for student nurse Sally Thompson, who saved a man's life during a recent water polo match in Ballina.

Mick Gooley, of Lennox Head, collapsed after a busy day and a tough match his body couldn't cope with.

Ms Thompson was filling in as a timekeeper when she noticed one of the players, Mr Gooley, laying on his side at the other end of the pool.

"I thought he had dislocated his shoulder but I noticed there was a bit of panic," she said.

"So I jumped up and ran over to him and he was unconscious.

"He was quite pale, he wasn't breathing, so we put the defib on his chest, shocked him and continued CPR.

"Then he just took this glorious, almighty, big breath in, and he recovered."

It was all over in 10 minutes.

The heart attack came as a shock to Mr Gooley, 60, who leads an active lifestyle with a healthy diet of fish, vegetables and rice.

"I'd been working hard that day ... I went to water polo that night, I had a very hard first quarter against a younger team and subbed out just before half time," he said.

"I walked around to the other end, sat on a bench ... people asked me to get back in the water and I just said I need a rest.

"(Then) I fell down and the next thing I remembered was waking up in an ambulance."

Ms Thompson said if it weren't for the defibrillator on-site there could have been a completely different outcome.

"We would have been having a funeral for him yesterday instead of a water polo match," she said.

Mr Gooley's wife Yvonne had been enjoying a movie at home when she heard on the grapevine that her husband had a heart attack.

She got in her car and drove to the Ballina Memorial Swimming Pool, reminding herself to "drive sensibly" despite worst case scenarios running through her head.

Mr Gooley has been resting since his heart attack, however his water polo team invited Ms Thompson out for drinks last night after the weekly match to thank her for saving their team-mate.

 

CPR basics

IN AN emergency situation remember DR-ABCD. The letters stand for Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Compressions and Defibrillator.

  • Check for danger - eg, hazards, risks and safety.
  • Is the person responsive - ie, conscious or unconscious? If unconscious, call emergency services.
  • Check airway - is it blocked? Can you see why? If so, clear what you can see. No need to turn the person on their side.
  • Are they breathing normally? (More than intermittent breaths - gasping is not normal.) If not, give two initial breaths (puffs for a baby). Check that the chest raises and falls.
  • Give chest compressions. If no signs of life, give 30 compressions then two breaths (close to two compression per second). Perform five cycles in about two minutes.
  • Defibrillator: If available follow the voice prompts from the machine.
  • Always stay with the person until help arrives.

SOURCE: http://www.firstaid anywhere.com/performing- cpr.html NOTE: This is a rough guide. Visit the Australian Resuscitation Council website for more comprehensive information.



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