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Teenage footy player saved by bystander after suffering heart attack mid game

  • A quick thinking bystander was able to provide CPR until a defibrillator arrived
  • Liam Birch had no pulse when Tony Freeman began the life saving CPR on him
  • Liam’s father and football coach witnessed the entire ordeal from the sidelines 

Brittany Chain For Daily Mail Australia

A quick-thinking bystander has saved the life of a teenage footy player who collapsed on the field after suffering a heart attack.

Liam Birch, a player in Melbourne‘s Wallan Magpies, collapsed during the third quarter of the under 19 grand final rematch on Saturday.

Local hero Tony Freeman witnessed the teenager fall to the ground and reacted instantly, jumping the fence after noticing something was wrong straight away. 

Liam's father (pictured with Liam) posted on a Facebook forum his gratitude for all those involved in saving his son's life, especially Tony Freeman

Liam's father (pictured with Liam) posted on a Facebook forum his gratitude for all those involved in saving his son's life, especially Tony Freeman

Liam’s father (pictured with Liam) posted on a Facebook forum his gratitude for all those involved in saving his son’s life, especially Tony Freeman

Tony Freeman (pictured) said he did what anybody with CPR training would have done

Tony Freeman (pictured) said he did what anybody with CPR training would have done

Tony Freeman (pictured) said he did what anybody with CPR training would have done

Liam remained in hospital overnight for further testing to determine what caused the heart attack

Liam remained in hospital overnight for further testing to determine what caused the heart attack

Liam remained in hospital overnight for further testing to determine what caused the heart attack

Mr Freeman spoke with Nine News after the incident, telling them: ‘he looked like he was fitting, but he wasn’t.’

‘There was no pulse. He had no oxygen going in.’

The 19-year-old had stopped breathing, and as Freeman continued CPR, a team trainer ran to find a defibrillator and call the ambulance.

From the initial shock, it took between five and ten seconds for Birch to regain consciousness.  

Liam Birch remained in hospital overnight for further tests, and the defibrillator that saved his life is also currently being examined to assist in determining a cause for his premature, life-threatening heart attack. 

Luckily, a defibrillator (pictured) was close by, however officials are planning to keep individual defibrillators on each field following the incident

Luckily, a defibrillator (pictured) was close by, however officials are planning to keep individual defibrillators on each field following the incident

Luckily, a defibrillator (pictured) was close by, however officials are planning to keep individual defibrillators on each field following the incident

 ‘Tony saved my life, if he wasn’t there I wouldn’t be here today,’ Mr Birch said.

A gratuitous Facebook post was also shared around the local community after the incident, with Liam’s father and coach Adam thanking everybody involved in helping save his son’s life.

‘I grabbed onto Tony before he got away…I obviously gave him a big hug and a kiss,’ he said. 

He described Tony as ‘amazing’ and said he was ‘forever in his debt.’ 

Tony encouraged everybody to engage in CPR training, having just updated his own training in May.

‘It could save someone’s life.’ 

Liam's father, Adam (pictured with Liam celebrating a win), doubles as his football coach, and has led Liam's team to victories, including the 2017 grand final

Liam's father, Adam (pictured with Liam celebrating a win), doubles as his football coach, and has led Liam's team to victories, including the 2017 grand final

Liam’s father, Adam (pictured with Liam celebrating a win), doubles as his football coach, and has led Liam’s team to victories, including the 2017 grand final

 

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