Critical courtside assist

By Ewen McRae

Joshua Simpson is lucky to be alive – and he has the quick thinking of family and staff at Keilor Basketball Stadium to thank for it.

The 15-year-old was playing for Aberfeldie Jets at the stadium on December 8 when he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed, with those on the sidelines leaping to his aid.

Joshua’s mother, Jodie, ran on to the court and immediately started CPR, while staff called an ambulance and grabbed the nearby defibrillator.

A shock from the defibrillator was administered and CPR continued. Joshua was conscious and breathing when paramedics arrived.

Ms Simpson said she was grateful for the stadium defribillator and emphasised the importance of having staff on hand with first-aid training.

“To the people who assisted me to save my son’s life, no words can describe the gratitude I’m feeling,” she said.

“I’m just thankful that they were by my side to help me bring back Josh and I’m glad it happened when and where it did because the stadium has a defibrillator.

“I’d like to see every child taught CPR and every sporting venue have a defibrillator.”

It is the third time the stadium’s defribillator has been used, with similar incidents occurring in 2012 and 2017.

Joshua, who is 200 centimetres tall and still growing, described those who came to his aid as heroes.

“The facts are black and white – if I didn’t have CPR and the defibrillator wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

“I’m very thankful for what they did and for getting me stable before the ambulance came.”

As Joshua, family, friends and staff gathered at Keilor Basketball Stadium to reflect on the incident, state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said it gave her “great pride” to know Victorians were coming to the aid of their fellow

She said it was to be hoped that even more Victorian residents would learn first-aid and how to use life-saving equipment such as defribillators.

“When it comes to cardiac arrest, every second counts,” she said. “We can all play a role in saving lives until paramedics arrive.

“By knowing what needs to be done when an emergency strikes, you can potentially be the difference between life and death.”