Minutes ‘felt like hours’ as mates worked to save Day
TWENTY minutes felt like hours for coaches and teammates of popular cricketer Alecz Day, as they desperately worked to save his life.
The 29-year-old all-rounder collapsed after suffering a massive heart attack at Sunshine Coast Scorchers training on Thursday night, but has since started on the road to recovery, coming out of an induced coma and moving out of the intensive care unit at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
His coach, Ashley Holznagel, along with Ash Renouf and John Turnbull, started performing CPR on their mate barely a minute after he'd hit the ground.
Sunshine Coast Cricket Association media officer Pat Drew said their swift actions were being credited with saving his life and preventing any brain damage.
Holznagel, an Energex linesman by trade, said he underwent CPR training every six months as part of his job, but he always wondered how he would perform under pressure.
He never thought his skills would be called upon on one of the Scorchers' fittest squad members.
"You do your training and sort of think you hope you never have to use it," Holznagel said.
"I thought under extreme pressure, I thought everyone tried their hardest to keep Alecz alive."
The coach and former Scorchers player said it had been a "big emotional rollercoaster" for everyone at the club in the days since the incident.
"To see one of your mates go down and have a heart attack, it's been pretty rough on all of us," Holznagel said.
He praised the efforts of all involved, including James Henry and Craig Peck, who helped sound the alarm and clear access paths for the ambulance.
"After that (CPR efforts for about 20 minutes) it's just a really flat feeling, we were all so worried for Alecz's health," Holznagel said.
"You just want to see Alecz get back to normal … to be fair, cricket's irrelevant, you just want anyone that goes through this to just get back to normal."
He said Day was in good spirits over the weekend during a visit, feeling bright enough to poke fun at his coach's choice of shirt.
Pat Drew said Day was expected to be in hospital for some time undergoing tests, but was improving every day.
He said counselling was also available through Queensland Cricket for anyone involved who needed help.
He said the Scorchers First Grade side would take the field this weekend, having sat out last weekend, still reeling from the incident.
"It stunned the boys, it was traumatic," Drew said.
"He's (Day) got a fair bit of rehab ahead of him."
Drew said the response of those present, particularly Holznagel, Renouf and Turnbull, "could've been a demo of what to do", it was so effective.