Rugby coach grateful that team mates gave CPR a ‘try’

Dave and Jeff

Pictured: L-R: Dave Palmer and Jeff Ford

Click on the link below to watch Jeff’s Story..

Do you know how to do CPR? View the video below for a step by step guide.

Monday 15th September 2014 – 10.30am – Suzie Wheaton.

A rugby coach from Staffordshire who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch is urging everyone to give CPR a ‘try’ after his friends saved his life.

It is estimated that approximately 30,000 people each year have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital, with almost 4,000 of those taking place in our region. Currently only one in three of these people will receive CPR from a bystander, prior to the arrival of ambulance crews.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is raising awareness around the importance of commencing chest compressions on someone suffering from a cardiac arrest as soon as possible. For every minute that basic life support is not provided the patient’s chances of survival reduces by 10%.

Rugby coach, Jeff Ford, knows only too well how incredibly important bystander CPR is after suffering a cardiac arrest whilst training two years ago.

Jeff, who was 58 at the time of the incident, said: “I had no history of serious heart illnesses and no serious injuries; I’d been a very, very lucky person. I’ve played rugby for over 40 years; starting as a player at 18, I was then a referee for 20 years before taking up coaching.

“On the evening of 13th June 2012, I had come down to the pitch at Monkton Recreational Centre (Penkridge) for a bit of fun and to see some friends. During the summer months the training usually consists of touch rugby which is non-contact. I started to become out of breath and getting pains in my chest. I went off and fell to one knee and I thought to myself I can’t do this, the next thing I remember is waking up in the back of an ambulance.”

Jeff had suffered a significant cardiac arrest and thankfully had been revived by his team mates who immediately carried out CPR and then used a defibrillator.

Friend, Dave Palmer said: “We looked around and Jeff was lying there on the ground, unconscious and twitching. We quickly realised he wasn’t breathing and myself and friend, John Freeman, started CPR. Another member of the team called 999, whilst two others ran to get the defibrillator, which had only been installed six week previously.

“We carried on with CPR and then applied the defibrillator. The defibrillator talked us through what to do step by step, where to put the pads, when to stand clear and when it was the right time to deliver the shock.

“Everyone was shaken following the incident but at least the outcome was good. Jeff is still around to give us a hard time at training. It would have been so much worse if he hadn’t of got through it.”

Jeff added; “I’d like to thank everyone who was involved, without them I wouldn’t be here. I have a ten-year-old daughter, a wife, a family, without their help I would’ve been in a pine box.

“I’d urge everyone to give CPR a try and give someone at least a chance of survival. If CPR had been delayed you have to understand you wouldn’t be talking to me now.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Head of Clinical Practice, Matt Ward, explains why early chest compression is so important: “When a cardiac arrest occurs the heart stops beating effectively. Whilst the heart is not beating toxins build up in the body and brain. You have approximately 8-10 minutes before this brain damage become irreversible.

“Approximately 7% of people who suffer a cardiac arrest survive. By providing CPR immediately this number can be significantly improved but we can only do this with help from the public.

“Don’t be scared to start chest compressions. Many people worry and ask if they could hurt the patient but in cardiac arrest the patient only has one other option and that is death!”

For more information about cardiac arrests and CPR please view our film footage above. This can also be found on facebook, twitter and youtube – please search for ‘officialwmas’.

For more information about free HeartStart courses delivered by West Midlands Ambulance Service or to find out how your business, school or sports club can get a defibrillator installed please contact your local community response manager. Details can be found at


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