QUICK-thinking staff have been hailed heroes after saving the life of a footballer who suffered a heart attack during a match.
Rob Latham was close to death after collapsing while playing with a group of friends at the Robin Park Powerleague Soccerdome.
The 35-year-old from Reepham Close, Winstanley, was not breathing and his heart had stopped, but he was brought back to life by first aid-trained staff before emergency services arrived.
Resuscitation techniques, including the in-house defibrillator, had to be used twice before the professionals took over.
Family of Mr Latham have been maintaining a bedside vigil at Wigan Infirmary since he suffered the cardiac arrest at 8.30pm on Monday, during a privately-organised match at the Stadium Way centre.
His condition is now said to be stable.
Dave McNally, community resuscitation manager for North West Ambulance Service, said: “Thanks to the quick actions of trained staff and a public Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine – which was placed there as part of the Community Resuscitation Scheme spearheaded by the North West Ambulance Service – the patient was shocked twice and successfully resuscitated before being transported to hospital.
“This incident highlights the importance of quick intervention when an individual goes into cardiac arrest, and supports NWAS’s aim to have defibrillators placed in all public areas where there is an increased risk of cardiac arrest.
“The trust has trained all Powerleague staff in the North West in resuscitation techniques, and has installed defibrillators in all of their sites for occasions such as this.
“When there is a need to use them, it can be a frightening time for all concerned, but the staff in Powerleague Wigan acted extremely professionally and remembered their training well.”
Firefighters from Wigan were attending a skip fire behind the DW Stadium at the time, and were flagged down by someone at the Soccerdome.
Watch manager Michael Wilding said: “Fire Service trauma technicians rushed to the scene, where we found staff at the centre administering first-aid.
“When we arrived, staff at the centre where doing a remarkable job, with trained first-aiders at the scene.
“I have little doubt the man’s condition would have been far worse if those staff hadn’t been trained in first-aid.
A Powerleague spokesman said: “Powerleague are proud of how the staff at our Wigan branch responded to this emergency on Monday night, we are also very thankful for the support we receive from North West Ambulance Service across our branches in the area.
“Our best wishes and thoughts are with the player and his family.”