The president of a Tasmanian football team is urging every sporting club to have a defibrillator on hand after one of his players went into cardiac arrest during a game.
Burnie Dockers player Tobi Mcinnes went into cardiac arrest after a melee during a match between Penguin and Burnie at West Park Oval in Burnie on Saturday afternoon.
Police said the incident happened behind play in the third quarter of the North West Football League (NWFL) game.
Burnie Dockers president Jamie Boag said McInnes was attempting to break up the fight.
"Tobi's taken a blow to the chest and he went into cardiac arrest, just collapsed on the ground," he said.
"There was a little bit of a melee, just with a couple of people in the pocket, and he was the one that was trying to separate it.
"But as to how he came to receive the blow, we can't say too much at the moment."
The match was abandoned as a result.
Spectators helped save player's life
Three off-duty paramedics, trainers and an umpire came to Mcinnes's aid, and Boag said his player is "alive because of their actions."
"As soon as they saw CPR was being performed they raced out onto the ground," he said.
Mcinnes was treated on the field before being transported to Burnie's North-West Regional Hospital.
He was then transferred to the Launceston General Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
'You've got to be prepared'
Boag said the responders were lucky to have a defibrillator on hand.
"I don't think every club has, but it's something they certainly should look into," he said.
"You don't expect instances like this, but you've got to be prepared in case that happens," he said.
"Oxygen was another thing they called for that we didn't have, but I'm going to make sure we look at how to get that, regardless of the cost or the maintenance of storing it.
"You've just got to be prepared, it was a bit of an eye-opener."
In 2015, the Northern Tasmanian Football Association become the state's first football league to install a defibrillator at each of its clubs.
NWFL president Andrew Richardson has confirmed that all the league's clubs also have the equipment on hand.
"The importance of this equipment is evident from what happened last week," he said.
"The AFL had a push on this, working to ensure all clubs had them."
The Tasmanian government has a community initiative to fund the installation of defibrillators across the state.
The scheme currently provides 180 automatic external defibrillators, with 90 more available this financial year for community and not-for-profit organisations and individuals.
Playing future still unknown
Police are now investigating the on-field fight, but as of yet, no charges have been laid.
Boag said a handful of his players have made statements to police, along with those from the Penguin club.
"We got Tobi on speakerphone and he's sounding positive about things, he's keen to catch up with the boys and be around the club again," he said.
"When or whether he plays again, I don't know.
"Fingers crossed he will make a full recovery. He joked about playing next week, I don't think that will happen but as long as he recovers well."