Run­ning leg­end had ‘sui­ci­dal thoughts’

The Southland Times - - Sport -

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 me a lot of 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 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.

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