Foot­ball leg­end thanks his saviour

Rufer ‘grey’ and life­less but CPR res­cuer rises to oc­ca­sion, writes Phillip Rollo.

Sunday Star-Times - - News -

New Zealand’s great­est foot­baller has thanked the man who saved his life, a week af­ter suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack on a Lime e-scooter and col­laps­ing in a busy Auck­land street.

All Whites leg­end Wyn­ton Rufer was rid­ing back from watch­ing a Break­ers bas­ket­ball game at Spark Arena last Sun­day when he suf­fered the heart at­tack.

Speak­ing from Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day, he said he’d been in a coma un­til Mon­day and ‘‘la-la land’’ un­til Thurs­day so it was only yes­ter­day he had been able to phone the man who had come to his res­cue, 35-year-old Auck­lan­der Nick Moss.

Rufer is ex­pected to make a full re­cov­ery but said he felt ‘‘very lucky to be alive’’.

‘‘He has prob­a­bly saved my life. I can’t believe I’ve had a heart at­tack,’’ Rufer said.

‘‘I’ve ob­vi­ously just blacked out be­cause I re­mem­ber go­ing around the cor­ner re­ally slow . . . but then I don’t re­mem­ber any more af­ter that. Nick was bash­ing away at my chest to keep me alive while the am­bu­lance came and they ap­plied a de­fib­ril­la­tor three times. I woke up on ICU on Mon­day.’’

Moss said yes­ter­day that he hadn’t recog­nised Rufer right away but had sim­ply gone to help when he’d heard the screams for help from Rufer’s Ger­man friend Flo­rian Well­mann, who’d been fol­low­ing Rufer home from the bas­ket­ball. He said he’d been con­fi­dent he could help the 56-yearold be­cause he’d at­tended a St John Am­bu­lance first aid course only three months ago.

‘‘As we pulled up, there was a woman on the phone in one hand and push­ing on his chest on the other.’’

By the time Moss ar­rived, Rufer was un­con­scious on the ground so he said he started per­form­ing CPR while the woman called 111.

‘‘I thought this was quite se­ri­ous so I said ‘I’ve done first aid train­ing, I’ll jump on and do this while you call the am­bu­lance’. At that stage he wasn’t breath­ing, he didn’t have any life in him, he was in a bad way.

‘‘It was hard to recog­nise him. He had turned quite grey. It was about five min­utes from when I got there that the am­bu­lance got there but I’m so thank­ful they could get there so quickly.’’

It was only af­ter he’d found Rufer’s ID that Moss re­alised he’d come to the res­cue of a soc­cer star he’d grown up watch­ing on TV.

Rufer played 23 times for New Zealand, in­clud­ing at the 1982 World Cup, and was a star in Euro­pean club foot­ball in both Switzer­land and Ger­many in the 1980s and 90s, when he played for mar­quee club Werder Bre­men.

Wyn­ton Rufer, right, and Flo­rian Well­mann at the Break­ers game shortly be­fore Rufer’s heart at­tack.

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