Magpie club members awarded for saving Barry’s life
FIVE Wangaratta Football Club members were named ‘community heroes’ in Melbourne yesterday, 14 months after saving the life of local sporting legend Barry Grant.
Michael Newton, Will Reilly, Zac Hedin, Dean Stone and Rob Doolan were presented with Community Hero medals by Minister for Ambulance Services Jenny Mikakos and Ambulance Victoria chief executive officer Tony Walker during a ceremony at Metropolis at Southbank.
The awards, among 17 presented, recognised the group’s efforts in saving Barry’s life after he collapsed while checking the cricket pitch at Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval in late September last year.
Magpies players Michael, Will and Zac, coach Dean and administrator Rob were at the ground at the time because the bus arranged to take them to 2017 premiership celebrations was running late.
As Barry approached the group, they noticed him hold on to a pole, then leapt into action after he collapsed.
“I went and rolled him over, and that’s when we knew there were some really serious issues going on here,” Dean said.
Rob’s awareness of the location of the club’s defibrillator ensured it could be used at the crucial time to help stabilise Barry before paramedics arrived; two shocks were administered before the ambulance arrived, and Barry’s pulse returned.
“He was purple, and then I saw the life come back into him,” Will said.
The group won praise from local MICA paramedic Christina Kiraly, who said some “incredible teamwork” took place to save Barry’s life.
“All the work was done by the time we arrived; Barry was confused but awake, so we didn’t have to do much, other than monitor him and keep him stable,” she said.
Barry was taken to Wangaratta hospital before being flown to Melbourne for further treatment that saw him fitted with an internal defibrillator.
He was in the audience to see the group lauded for its efforts yesterday.
“I can’t thank them enough; when you get your life saved, it’s pretty amazing,” he said.
Zac said it was a humbling experience to be thanked for saving a person’s life.
“Seeing the other four cases that were recognised, it’s pretty amazing to see people, especially young kids, who have helped others with the advice from 000,” he said.
“You have a million things running through your head in these situations, but you just work through it, and when you have someone on the line from 000, you don’t have as much to consider.
“The people on the other end of the line will support you through the process.
“There is a whole lot of unknown going in to it, but I think once you’ve been involved in an experience like this, it gives you more confidence that you can help in those situations.”
Zac and Michael said they had both done first aid courses before assisting Barry, and encouraged others to equip themselves with the same knowledge.
“It’s good to have that sort of background, because you just don’t know when something like this is going to happen and when you’ll be called upon,” Michael said.
“It’s great to be prepared, and without the defibrillator, it might have been a different situation, so having that sort of equipment available is important around sporting clubs and events.”
Zac agreed: “Even if you’re not going to do a course, just make yourself aware of the process, even with a simple Google search, so you know what to do if you need to.”
Ambulance Victoria’s Tony Walker said bystanders could be the difference to someone’s chances of survival in the first critical minutes of an emergency.
“I’m extremely proud of our paramedics’ world class skills and the work they do to save lives across Victoria every day,” he said.
“However, our heroes demonstrate that we don’t do our work alone. Bystanders in the right place at the right time could be the difference to someone’s chances of survival in the first critical minutes of an emergency.”
For the full honour roll of 2018 Community Heroes, visit www.ambulance.vic.gov.au.
MARVELLOUS MAGPIES HONOURED: (From left) Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jenny Mikakos, paramedic Camron Wilson, Wangaratta Football Netball Club's Community Heroes with their medals Rob Doolan, Zac Hedin, Michael Newton and Dean Stone with Barry Grant, AV CEO Tony Walker, Hume Regional Director Matt Chadban, Wangaratta team manager Paul Reynolds at the Ambulance Victoria awards yesterday.