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Officials rush to rescue at GAA ground as player collapses in the dug-out

By Donna Deeney

The fast actions of officials from a Co Londonderry GAA club may have helped save the life of one of its players.

The 27-year-old man, who plays for Slaughtmanus Reserves, collapsed at the grounds on Wednesday evening, and is currently undergoing tests at Altnagelvin hospital where he was taken by ambulance.

The man, who was in the dug-out, collapsed just moments after the team manager noticed he looked unwell and raised the alarm.

Club member Siobhan McShane rang the ambulance and kept a link with the emergency operator until it arrived.

A local derby between Slaughtmanus and Faughanvale was being played in front of a large crowd when the man, who was on the field earlier, collapsed.

Mrs McShane told the Belfast Telegraph it was a terrifying time for everyone waiting for the ambulance.

She said: "The young fella was in the dug-out at the time and the manager went over to see him and noticed straight away he looked ill. He called over to me to ring an ambulance and I dialled 999 straight away, but just at that moment the young fella collapsed.

"A nurse who was in the field was administering first aid, monitoring his conditions and passing the information on to me, which I then relayed on to the operator. It seemed like forever before the ambulance arrived but I suppose it was just because we were so anxious for it to come. People were telling me about the bomb scare at Lettershandoney, but the operator told me the ambulance driver knew about it and was taking the detour. I was so relieved when they came into the field and took over.

"This was such a shock for us at the club and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery."

The ambulance called to deal with the emergency had to be diverted because of a security alert at Lettershandoney, but a spokesman from the Ambulance Service said it added just three minutes to the arrival time.

He said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was called at 20.04 on Wednesday night following reports of a male with chest pain at St Marys Slaughtmanus GAC, Ervey Road. The closest A&E crew was dispatched with an estimated arrival time of 12 minutes. Due to a security alert in Lettershandoney, approximately three minutes extra was added to our response time for this call. Following assessment and treatment at the scene by the crew, the patient was transported to Altnagelvin Area Hospital."

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