When Quentin Megson’s heart stopped outside Challenge Stadium last year, lifeguards Sasha Kovalenko (19) and Ryan O’Sullivan (22) were on the scene in 30 seconds.
‘I was watching the indoor pool about 6am when I got the call, and it took me a second or two to register what was going on,’ Mr O’Sullivan said.
‘I grabbed the equipment, ran out and saw Sasha already there setting up.
‘We started doing two-person CPR and after that, everything went into a blur. Even though with all the training, you never know how you will react in that situation. It was my first time doing CPR and I just went into autopilot. It was fight or flight.’
Mr O’Sullivan and Mr Kovalenko were awarded Royal Life Saving and Western Power Gold Star Bravery Awards last month.
Nedlands resident Mr Megson (42) said his doctor likened his chances of having a heart attack to ‘the same as being hit by lightning’.
‘I was very unlucky to have the heart attack, but there was plenty of luck being at Challenge Stadium because the guys came straight to me and got me breathing again before the ambulance left,’ he said.
Mr Megson said his ‘against all odds’ good luck continued once he got to hospital.
‘I was in the Emergency Care Unit for 15 days and in a coma for a while,’ he said.
‘They had booked the appointment to turn off my machines, but delayed it for a day or two and that’s when I decided to come to.
‘For my family and friends it was probably more traumatic ” all I had to do is wake up. I sent my wife nuts after asking her about 20 times what happened, I kept forgetting. It was a surreal experience.’
Mr O’Sullivan said he and Sasha had to wait three weeks before finding out if Mr Megson had survived.
‘Coming back to work was like being in limbo,’ he said.
‘Everyone was saying ‘good job’ and ‘congratulations’ but it was nerve-racking not knowing.
‘We were both pretty ecstatic when we heard he was all right.’
VenuesWest chairman Graham Partridge said Mr Megson was ‘living proof’ that Challenge Stadium staff were well trained.
‘You can go several years without anything happening, and then a few incidents happen at once,’ Mr Partridge said.
‘This is why a lot of money gets spent on training and equipment to make sure everything is safe ” its what Challenge Stadium prides itself on.’