West Coaster Brad Houston’s life saved by mates
West Coast mates James Ward, left, and Brad Houston. Ward helped saved Houston’s life after he collapsed during a rugby league match in Runanga.
A West Coast rugby league player whose heart stopped during a game “wouldn’t be here” if his mates had not helped paramedics perform CPR for 45 minutes.
Brad Houston, 31, collapsed while playing with the Runanga Rugby League 9s at Wingham Park, near Greymouth, on Saturday.
He received CPR for up to 45 minutes and was shocked 13 times before being transferred to hospital. He is recovering well in Christchurch Hospital, his wife, Lilly, told Stuff.
Houston’s friend and coach James Ward ran to him and immediately began CPR. Houston was not breathing and had no pulse.
West Coast Rugby League development officer Paddy Byrne also ran to help.
“He was lucky James reacted so quickly. We took turns working on him until the ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later. It really was a team effort, other people were contacting the emergency services and his family. Once the St John response team arrived we just did what we were told to do. Myself and Wardy and a couple of firefighters took turns working on his chest while the paramedics did all the technical stuff,” he said.
“He’s very lucky, there were times when I thought he wasn’t going to make it. The emergency services were amazing. The St John paramedics were calm under pressure and the 111 lady was a reassuring voice on the phone emphasizing not to stop CPR. Giving up wasn’t an option,” he said.
Lilly Houston said Brad was taken to Grey Base Hospital and transferred to Christchurch the next day.
“He is doing really well. He’s managed to get up and have a shower. [He is] keeping in good spirits while we are waiting for tests to tell us what caused it. He has had an angiogram, an echocardiogram and a chest X-ray which have come back clear. We are just waiting to get a heart MRI, which we are hoping will tell us more,” she said.
Houston was fit and healthy with a physical job as a foreman at Fulton Hogan.
“It’s just out of the blue. He’s very lucky. We are so thankful to James Ward, Paddy Byrne, Pete Terakau and the emergency services for not giving up on him. I’m sure there were times when they thought he wouldn’t survive but they kept going. He got shocked 13 times. Thirteen times lucky,” she said.
The couple have two daughters, aged 6 and 3, and when Brad collapsed Lilly was in Christchurch on a shopping trip.
“He was in the right place at the right time. If it had happened when he’d been driving or on his own looking after the girls … it doesn’t bear thinking about. He said he felt dizzy and one of his teammates Royce Green asked him if he was OK and he went to say yes but couldn’t speak and Royce caught him as he went down, then Wardy and the others jumped in. It’s amazing. He wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them,” she said.