A regional Canadian hockey team almost had a tragedy on its hands when a fan collapsed before a game on Sunday in Newfoundland. Luckily, Gander Flyers goaltender Patrick O’Brien doubles as a paramedic, so he was able to clop out from the locker room in half his gear to perform life-saving CPR on the middle-aged man in cardiac arrest:
O’Brien — wearing his skates, hockey pants and one goal pad — raced from the Flyers’ dressing room and joined Gander mayor and retired paramedic Claude Elliott and Tom Whalen, a Flyers’ board member and also a former paramedic, who were assisting the stricken fan.
The man had no pulse and was not breathing.
That’s when the 26-year-old O’Brien went to work.
“I just hopped in and started chest compressions,” O’Brien told the Gander Beacon.
O’Brien kept up the CPR until paramedics arrived at the scene with a defibrillator, which they used twice on the fan before transporting him to a local hospital, where he is reportedly in stable condition.
Now, one might think O’Brien would be too shaken up to play after that, but nope: The goaltender played the last 23 minutes of the game against the Corner Brook Royals, which the Flyers ended up losing, 6-2.
Fans won’t hold it against O’Brien, however, who’s reacting humbly to his new status as town hero.
“Anyone would have done what I did,” he told the Gander Beacon. “I guess it’s just where it was at the rink and I had some of my gear on. But it’s what I do. It happens with some level of regularity [while on duty].”
O’Brien was also quick to thank those around him, including Gander Mayor Claude Elliott and Flyers board member Tom Whalen, both of whom are former paramedics.
“There was lots of help,” O’Brien told the Beacon. “It wasn’t just me.”
O’Brien later reiterated his appreciation of his first-responder brethren later on Twitter, before later playing it cool and describing the day he helped save someone’s life simply as “interesting.”