Running legend had ‘suicidal thoughts’
Seeking professional help has helped former Commonwealth Games Dick Tayler to recover from negative and suicidal thoughts after a serious cardiac arrest.
Tayler told Radio Sport yesterday that, ‘‘I never thought I would be the sort of person who would want to get out of this world by doing it myself’’.
The 70-year-old shot to fame when he won the 10,000m gold medal on the first day of the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.
Tayler suffered a heart attack on his way to the unveiling of a statue to All Blacks great Colin Meads in Te Kuiti in June 2017.
He was travelling with a group of people, including television rugby commentator Keith Quinn.
‘‘I went 14 minutes without oxygen to the brain. A lot of brain damage was done. Not that there was much up there to damage. But thanks to the medical people my life was saved and I’ve been given another chance,’’ Tayler said.
‘‘Someone has a cardiac arrest and obviously the heart is a big concern – they got it going again but with not getting blood to the brain I did a lot of brain damage that has caused problems.’’
Tayler said he suffered negative and suicidal thoughts and could ‘‘sympathise with people who have depression’’.
‘‘The brain is a powerful bit of machinery and if something goes wrong a lot of things just don’t make sense. It can play some awful tricks and change our thoughts and feelings and how we look at things. And that’s what it did to me and I never thought I would be the sort of person who would want to get out of this world by doing it myself.’’
Tayler said seeking professional help had greatly assisted his recovery and he implored others suffering from depression or health worries to also get
of assistance. ‘‘Physically I’m in better shape than I’ve been in 10 or 15 years. Mentally there’s a lot of work to be done, but a hell of a lot of work has been done. There is hope and all I say on the positive side is there is help out there and professional people that can help you.’’
‘‘. . . Life is just so much better now and I’m feeling so good. I can remember everyone, now. She’s got the brain ticked in and there’s no negatives going through the system. It’s good.
‘‘I hope that I can help promote someone else. But for god’s sake if you have trouble ask for help. And bloody males are the worst for anyone at it. When they have all sorts of health problems they do nothing about it.’’
Dick Tayler, the 1974 Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion, battled suicidal thoughts after a heart attack.