AN off-duty police officer is being hailed as a hero after saving the life of a young hockey player whose heart stopped during a match.
PC Liam Roberts, 32, started the man’s heart twice and kept him alive until paramedics arrived at the scene. It was only through a twist of fate the trained first aider was on the pitch – having been called in as a last minute replacement.
He leapt to the fellow player’s aid after he collapsed during the match between Edinburgh University and Erskine Stewart Melville at Peffermill Playing fields in front of horrified players and onlookers.
Liam – from Gilmerton – said: “It was about five minutes before the end of the game when it happened. At first we all thought he had twisted his ankle, but then we realised something was really wrong. I asked for an ambulance and then he stopped breathing.”
Liam gave the prone hockey player CPR in front of an anguished huddle on onlookers and “must have been working on him for about 15 minutes”.
The ESM player added: “There was that thought in the back of our minds that this could have been fatal.”
Also at the scene of Saturday’s horror incident was umpire Fran Coleman, 24, a trainee teacher from Stockbridge, who tore a back muscle while helping to save his life.
She said: “It was horrible – his heart stopped and we thought he was going to die.
“It looked like he was having a seizure because he was shaking and frothing at the mouth. I went to get some jackets and things to keep him warm and when I came back they were giving him CPR.”
It is believed the victim “came and went” two or three times as Liam and Fran gave CPR before paramedics arrived with a defibrillator and shocked him.
“They didn’t want to move him until they got a sign,” said Fran. “I just held his hand and Liam went with him to the hospital.”
The collapse victim, who does not wish to be named, has been undergoing tests at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He is understood to have passed on his thanks to his savers, as calls in the community grow for the bobby to be honoured for his bravery.
Liam learned CPR when he started coaching sports teams 20 years ago. But he remains modest and said that saving the player’s life and said: “We’ve all popped in to see him a couple of times and he seems to be on the mend.”
SPORTS SHOCKS SADLY NOT NEW
SUDDEN sport collapses are well documented. In March 2012, Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba, 23, collapsed having suffered cardiac arrest – medics spent six minutes trying to resuscitate him on the field.
Scottish footballer Jamie Dolan died from a heart attack in 2008 while jogging near his home in Bathgate. A post mortem revealed he had a hereditary condition from which his father also died.
In 2007, Motherwell’s Phil O’Donnell suffered a heart attack and died on the pitch in a game against Dundee United.