Burnie Dockers football player Tobi Mcinnes.

‘It was an eye-opener’: sports clubs are pushing for defibrillators after heart attack aged 23

The chairman of a Tasmanian football team is urging every sports club to have a defibrillator on hand after one of its players suffered a heart attack during a match.

Burnie Dockers’s Tobi Mcinnes suffered cardiac arrest after a melee during a game between Penguin and Burnie at West Park Oval in Burnie on Saturday afternoon.

According to police, the incident happened after the game in the third quarter of the North West Football League (NWFL) game.

Burnie Dockers president Jamie Boag said McInnes was trying to break the fray.

“Tobi was hit in the chest and went into cardiac arrest, he just fell to the ground,” he said.

“There was a bit of a melee, just with a few people in the bag, and he was the one trying to separate it.

“But we can’t say too much about how he got the blow at the moment.”

As a result, the match was stopped.

Spectators saved a player’s life

Three off-duty paramedics, trainers and a referee came to Mcinnes’ aid and Boag said his player is “alive because of their actions”.

“As soon as they saw CPR being performed, they ran to the ground,” he said.

Mcinnes was treated at the scene before being transported to Burnie’s North-West Regional Hospital.

He was subsequently transferred to Launceston General Hospital, where he is in stable condition.

‘You have to be prepared’

Boag said rescuers were lucky to have a defibrillator on hand.

“I don’t think every club has that, but it’s something they should definitely look at,” he said.

“You don’t expect cases like this, but you have to be prepared in case that happens,” he said.

“Oxygen was another thing they asked for that we didn’t have, but I’m going to make sure we see how we can get that regardless of the cost or maintenance to store it.

“You just have to be prepared. It was a bit of an eye opener.”

Dockers football club wants other sports clubs to consider having defibrillators on hand.ABC News: David Weber

In 2015, the Northern Tasmanian Football Association became the state first football league to install a defibrillator at each of its clubs

NWFL president Andrew Richardson has confirmed that all clubs in the league will also have the equipment.

“The importance of this equipment is evident from what happened last week,” he said.

“The AFL had a push here and made sure all the clubs had them.”

The Tasmanian government has a community initiative to fund the installation of defibrillators across the state.

The scheme currently provides 180 automated external defibrillators, with another 90 becoming available this fiscal year to community and nonprofit organizations and individuals.

Game future unknown

Police are now investigating the fight on the pitch, but no charges have been filed yet.

Boag said a handful of his players have made statements to police, along with those from the Penguin club.

“We have Tobi on speaker and he is sounding positive about things, he would like to catch up with the guys and be back in the club,” he said.

“I don’t know when or if he will play again.

“Fingers crossed that he will make a full recovery. He joked about playing next week, I don’t think that will happen, but as long as he recovers well.”

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