Despite a potentially deadly squash match that nearly took him out of the game, a local man is ready to get back on the court.
Everyone who knows Larry Dobson will tell you that the 71 year old is fit as a fiddle. And despite his love for chicken wings, and cookies, Dobson thought the same.
That was until he dropped to the floor during a game at Rosters Sports Club earlier this month due to a heart attack.
“I was playing squash and just went down like a light,” said Dobson. “I was gone, I was dead.”
And Dobson may have been pronounced deceased if it weren’t for the quick actions of some key people that day.
His squash partner immediately started administering CPR while another person ran to call 911 and ask for help.
Christine Cole was cooking in the kitchen at Rosters when she heard the commotion.
“I went running in there and saw a guy lying there and he was blue,” said Cole. “It was a little traumatizing.”
Having taken first aid a couple times, Cole immediately jumped in to assist by administering air in between compressions.
In quick response, Vernon Fire Rescue was on scene.
“There was no breathing, no pulse when we arrived,” said Capt. Doug Imrich, who was on shift that day with firefighters Brian Parsons, Matt Olson, Dale Sibilleau and Scott Pshyk.
The crew immediately hooked up an AED (automated external defibrillator) to Dobson and shocked him, which generated a pulse.
While the machine is what may have saved him in the end, Imrich also applauds the swift actions of some Good Samaritans administering CPR.
“Quick CPR saved Larry’s life,” said Imrich.
Following his hospital stay and stent placement, one of the first stops Dobson made was the fire department.
“He came in and he was just elated to be alive because he was dead and they brought him back,” said Jack Blair, Vernon Fire Rescue deputy chief.
Seeing Dobson in his lively state, versus the last time they had seen him, put a smile on the faces of everyone at the department.
“We go to a lot of these calls and unfortunately the survival rate isn’t that great,” said Imrich, who discovered that he actually knows Dobson and has played squash against him.
Dobson is now living proof of the importance of having life-saving skills such as CPR and knowing how to use an AED.
“They are amazing tools that are available for use by anyone,” said Blair.
“We’ve saved a number of people’s lives because of it.”
Dobson obviously agrees, and would like to see more education around the machines at places such as hockey arenas (which he also frequents).
“I’ve never seen the unit. Somebody should come along and say here’s the unit, here’s how it works and here’s where it sits.”
Because as he knows better than most, a sudden heart attack can happen to anyone.
“I was quite shocked, I’ve been healthy all my life and never had anything like this before.”
But following his recovery, Dobson is determined to get back in the game.
“By the first of December I’ll be back playing squash,” said Dobson, who has already been cleared to do some light play.