Footy Player Still Kicking Thanks To Teammates

Peter Rayson’s AFL Masters team showed a different kind of teamwork on the footy field last February when they saved his life.

The pre-season camp in Strath Creek got off to a good start with players from Williamstown Superules Football Club gathering for a weekend of drills and team building exercises.

However, things quickly escalated when the 73-year-old suddenly went into cardiac arrest on the field.

Members of the Williamstown Superules Football Club

Members of the Williamstown Superules Football Club.

Wasting no time, Peter’s teammates immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), called Triple Zero (000) and grabbed a nearby automated external defibrillator (AED).

In an astounding collective effort, Peter’s team performed continuous CPR and delivered two shocks from the AED, causing Peter to regain consciousness before Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedics arrived.

Williamstown Superules Football Club Supers over 35s men’s Senior Coach, Andrew Bryson said everyone was surprisingly calm as they worked to save Peter’s life.

“There was no panic and a few of us had CPR training,” he said.

“There were people helping to do the compressions, setting up the defib, making sure others nearby were calm, and someone coordinating the Triple Zero (000) call.

“We all worked together and there was a sense of calm as everyone knew what they needed to do.”

After playing AFL for 61 years Peter said his near-death experience wasn’t going to stop him from enjoying one of his favourite sports, as he returned to the field only 113 days after his cardiac arrest.

With a new lease on life, Peter said he has made it his mission to promote bystander intervention and the number of publicly accessible defibrillators by volunteering his time to speak to other organisations and football clubs.

“I want everyone to learn how to do CPR and how to use a defibrillator,” he said.

“I want people to know those skills so they can immediately jump in and help if someone needs it. If it weren’t for the people who applied it to me, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Ambulance Victoria Paramedic Jessica Rusic and Peter Rayson

Ambulance Victoria Paramedic Jessica Rusic and Peter Rayson.

AV paramedic, Jessica Rusic responded to Peter’s case and said his amazing recovery is thanks to the actions of his teammates.

“Peter is truly alive today because of the excellent work of his teammates in performing timely effective CPR and providing defibrillation through the public AED,” she said.

“This case is the perfect example for why public accessible AEDs are essential and save lives.

“Along with Peter, I’m so grateful for the willingness of his team in providing CPR, they should be very proud of the excellent care they gave their teammate.”

Now one year on, Peter and his team have gathered at the same location for another football camp, with Mr Bryson saying it was special to have Peter back on the field.

“There’s still emotion attached to the incident,” he said.

“It’s pretty special that he’s still here and now there’s a connection that all of us will have forever.”

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