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Reading First Aider Saves Life Of Heart Attack Footballer

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A man who collapsed while playing football at the University of Reading has returned to thank the first aider whose quick actions saved his life.

Michael Hagans, 63, from Tilehurst, Reading, has played five-a-side football with his friends at Whiteknights campus every week for the past 35 years.

Reading First Aider
Dean Goddard and Michael Hagans

But the match he played on the evening of 30 September was far from his typical kick-about.

Twenty minutes into the game, the forklift driver collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest.

His teammates immediately alerted staff at SportsPark on the Whiteknights campus. Dean Goddard, a SportsPark employee, received the call and quickly ran out with a defibrillator to help Michael. He gave Michael chest compressions and two electric shocks with the machine before an ambulance took him to the nearby Royal Berkshire Hospital.

‘Amazing recovery’

Michael awoke from a coma two days later with no memory of what happened. Since then, he has made a remarkable recovery, taking the time to cycle between Tilehurst and Sonning and is even making plans to return to playing football again.

After being told about Dean’s heroic actions, Michael returned to the University to thank him.

Michael said: “My partner was there when I woke up and they told me what had happened. It was hard to come to terms with. There was no way I thought I could have a heart attack, but obviously I did.

“I went for a check-up yesterday and had various exercises and tests. The nurse was quite amazed at the speed of my recovery.

“What can you say if someone saves your life? There are not really words that are adequate. Thank you seems not enough.

“When these things happen, you’re not expecting them, and you always like to think there’s someone there who can do that job and save your life. I’m happy he was there to be able to do that.”

‘It could happen at any moment’

Dean, who has worked at SportsPark for 11 years, was praised by police officers for the quick thinking under pressure that saved Michael’s life.

He said: “First aid training is very important. It just happened suddenly, I was in the staff room at the time on my break. As far as I was concerned, that was my time to sit and relax. All of a sudden, someone had collapsed on the football pitch.

“It could happen at any moment. That’s why it’s so important to remind yourself about first aid and about the process of using a defibrillator. Keep yourself up to date because it can happen at any moment.”

As well as helping to train a range of health professionals including pharmacists, physician associates and psychologists, the University of Reading offers first aid training to any member of staff who wants it.

The Red Cross can offer advice and training on first aid to members of the public.