Fortunately for him he collapsed right outside the Gellibrand General Store – that’s where the Otway Districts Football Netball Club keeps its defibrillator during the week to maximise its community benefit.
The club got its defib through the Victorian Government’s Defibrillators for Sporting Clubs and Facilities Program.
Store proprietor Maria Kozack had been one of the people trained by St John Ambulance when the defib was delivered to the club.
Maria rushed out with the unit, and with the help of two tourists, managed to bring John back.
President of the Otway District Football Netball Club Ross Panther said without this piece of lifesaving equipment, things may have been entirely different.
It’s a 20 minute drive for the nearest ambulance to get to the remote town, and doctors said John would almost certainly have died if it hadn’t been for the quick action of Maria and the defib.
”As a club we want to say thanks, and the community of Gellibrand cannot say enough about this wonderful outcome,” said Ross.
John is equally appreciative.
“I cannot thank the Otway Football Club, Maria Kozack, and the Defibrillator Grants program enough for providing the AED that saved my life by being publicly accessible in Gellibrand.”
Charlie Martin is a local sporting identity who led the push for a defibrillator after narrowly surviving a cardiac arrest himself.
He says all clubs should embrace the opportunity.
“It’s a no brainer,” he said. “It should be the best bit of equipment that you never have to use.”
Since 2016, the program has approved and is delivering more than 1100 defibrillators to sport and recreation clubs, and a new round of applications has recently opened.
This new round will provide more opportunity for clubs to get hold of defibrillators, to ensure that clubs like the Otway Districts Football Netball Club and the town of Gellibrand are on top of their game when it comes to helping players and spectators, or even a passer-by when they need it most.
In a life threatening sudden cardiac arrest – every second counts, and bystanders play a vital role. The chance of surviving a cardiac arrest decreases by 10 per cent every minute that passes without defibrillation.
The great news is - as was the case at Gellibrand – that more bystanders than ever are stepping in to save lives. The use of public defibrillators for cardiac arrests has soared four-fold from 2.8 per cent in 2006/07 to 11 per cent in 2015/16.
Minister for Sport, John Eren, himself a cardiac arrest survivor is passionate about the program.
“Record numbers of people are signing up to play the sports they love,” he said.
“That also means the chance of a serious, life-threatening medical emergency at local sport clubs is rising.”
“Our defibrillator roll-out has been a huge success and deliveries are due to be completed in 2018-19. I urge sport clubs to take this final opportunity to apply for this vital equipment and training. “
Sporting clubs who already have a defibrillator are urged to register it with Ambulance Victoria.
Clubs with a defibrillator that is over eight years old should also consider applying to the program, as replacement of an ageing defibrillator with a new program-provided unit will deliver greater reliability and six years free maintenance provided by St John Ambulance.
For more information visit the defibrillator grants page on the Sport and Recreation Victoria website
STOP PRESS - Another player's life was saved recently by a defibrillator provided by the program. The 19-year old player collapsed during a match at Greenhills Reserve in Wallan. A passer-by provided CPR until the defibrillator at the ground was used to revive the young man.