January 13 this year started like any other day for Melbourne man Jesse Amato.Like countless days before, the 24-year-old was on the way to his local futsal stadium in Footscray, ready for his weekly game of indoor soccer.
But the drive in was the last thing Jesse remembers, waking from a coma days later at Royal Melbourne Hospital with a heart monitor attached and doctors carefully watching his vitals.
Jesse Amato was a healthy, active young Melbourne man who almost died when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest . (Supplied/Jesse Amato)
Jesse did make it to his futsal match – but well into the second half and with his team losing, he made a desperate defensive run to try and swing the game in his team’s favour.
That’s when his knees suddenly buckled, his face went blue and he dropped unconscious onto the hardwood floor.
Jesse had gone into cardiac arrest, but luckily an off-duty police officer by the name of Todd was playing on the other team and immediately recognised what was happening to him.
“Initially the players in the game thought I had made a dive — but it didn’t take long for them to realise that was out of character and I wouldn’t do something like that,” Jesse told 9News.com.au.
“My teammates were the first ones to reach me and initially they thought I had fainted because it was quite a hot night, but then Todd came over and realised I didn’t have a pulse and my face had gone blue.”
Todd started CPR straight away and continued trying to get the blood pumping back through his body for 10 minutes until paramedics arrived.
Jesse suffered pneumonia, a collapsed lung, rib damage and short-term memory loss in the days after he went into cardiac arrest.
Jesse says if it wasn’t for Todd knowing what to do, the blood would have rushed out of his brain and he would have been dead before the ambulance had even parked outside.
“Unfortunately, that is the case for most people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest,” Jesse said.
“If immediate action isn’t taken to revive that person, it’s essentially a death sentence.”
Alarmingly, only 10 per cent of people who go into cardiac arrest actually survive.
“If untreated you will die. Sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t discriminate,” Jesse said.
That is why he says it is important people of all ages are trained in how to administer CPR to those who may need it.
He said he was a healthy young man with no underlying health conditions who was following a plant-based diet, exercising regularly, and getting regular check-ups.
“I was doing all the right things to look after my body, but like I said sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t discriminate – it can happen to anyone of any age at any time,” he said.
Heart of the Nation (Nine)
He got pneumonia and suffered bruised ribs, short-term memory loss, and a collapsed lung all while undergoing countless tests to try and find out why he suddenly almost died.
“I am not trying to scare people with my story, but it is something you should be prepared for by getting trained on how to help someone if they need it,” he said.
This is why Jesse will be participating in the world’s biggest CPR lesson.
The event will be held by charity Heart of the Nation in partnership with Channel 9 and Jesse encourages everyone of all ages to get involved.
“You don’t need a medical degree to do CPR,” he said.
“All it takes is a one- or two-hour training course and you could end up saving someone’s life.
“It’s super important because if more of us are trained in CPR, then more people can recognise the 30,000 cardiac arrests which happen every year and if more of us can recognise them then that survival rate can increase.”
Hosted by Richard Wilkins, the world’s biggest CPR lesson will also have special appearances by Layne Beachley and Brett Lee.
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