OUR HE­ROES

Mag­pie club mem­bers awarded for sav­ing Barry’s life

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MONE KER­WIN sker­[email protected] ne­me­dia.com.au

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.

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