ItHome Cardiac Arrest Brisbane tennis coach to the stars Clive Martin survives heart attack after friends perform CPR on court

Brisbane tennis coach to the stars Clive Martin survives heart attack after friends perform CPR on court

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Brisbane tennis coach to the stars Clive Martin survives heart attack after friends perform CPR on court

As a tennis coach in upmarket Kensington in London in the 1980s, Clive Martin trained entertainment royalty like Cliff Richard, Elton John and Princess Diana.

But the 57-year-old never imagined he would be part of a real-life drama on a tennis court in Brisbane.

He had just finished playing a social tennis match with friends at Morningside Tennis Centre in the city’s east on October 15 when a heart attack saw him collapse on the sideline.

“I don’t remember much about that day at all,” Mr Martin said, who woke up in hospital five days later.

Upon arrival at emergency, Mr Martin was placed in an induced coma, undergoing a quadruple bypass due to the severity of his heart attack.

Mr Martin’s three children, all aged in their 20s, held a bedside vigil.

Friends saved his life

Post-surgery, Mr Martin is well and truly on the mend.

But in addition to the work by medical staff, the veteran coach owes his life to his friends who raced to aid when he collapsed on the court.

Among them was Glynn Priddle who has done a first aid course every year for the past three decades.

“I didn’t really think about it at the time, but afterwards I was thinking, ‘Wow, that was pretty amazing’.”

The two other friends who came to Mr Martin’s aid — Gabriel Uzum and Diego Diaz — had finished their first CPR training just two weeks before.

While it was a prerequisite of his job as a coach, Mr Diaz said he never expected to have to use it, let alone to save someone he knew.

“A lot of people go through their whole life without actually having to use it and two weeks after — boom, here we are,” Mr Diaz said.

Diego Diaz, Gabriel Uzum, Clive Martin and Glynn Priddle (left to right) with another friend at the Morningside Tennis Centre.(ABC News: Dean Caton)

Mr Uzum rushed over when he saw his friend and colleague in trouble.

“When I saw Clive, I checked his response — [it] wasn’t there — he wasn’t breathing properly. OK, if there’s no response, no breathing — [use a] defibrillator,” Mr Uzum said.

That was where Mr Diaz stepped in, bringing the club’s defibrillator as the three men started CPR.

Mr Uzum said they worked as a team and despite their friendship with Mr Martin, the first aid response was very clinical.

“I wouldn’t imagine that I would feel that way, but it worked well,” Mr Uzum said.

A St John Ambulance defibrillator. July 2017.
The club’s defibrillator was used to help save Mr Martin after his three friends started CPR.(ABC News: Sonya Gee)

‘Crucial for survival’

The latest figures from the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) said it took on average eight minutes for a crew to arrive at a scene.

The QAS’s latest annual report described cardiac arrest as “the most time-critical and time-dependent condition that paramedics respond to”.

“Early interventions by bystanders during the first moments after the patient collapses are crucial for survival,” the report said.

More than 75 per cent of cases attended by the QAS had seen a witness or bystander commencing CPR.

Mr Martin’s friends agreed their first aid training proved invaluable.

“I’ve always realised the importance of it, but until you actually have to do it on the field, as it were, then it really clicks into place how important it is,” Mr Priddle said.

The week before Christmas, Mr Martin returned to the tennis centre to thank his colleagues and friends.

Mr Martin knows their quick response saved his life

Defibrillator and a body dummy.
More than 75 per cent of cases attended by the QAS had seen a witness or bystander commencing CPR.(ABC News: Ruby Jones)

Famous clientele in London

Mr Martin stopped playing professional tennis when he was 23, opting to instead coach at the David Lloyd Club in Kensington in London, where celebrities were known to frequent.

“In London, I had nice clients, very good clients,” Mr Martin said.

Prince William and his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, applauds at Wimbledon in 1994.
Princess Diana and Prince William at Wimbledon in 1994.(Reuters: Andrew Wong)

Since moving to Australia in 1989, Mr Martin’s focus has been on training young, talented players.

Mr Martin told them he would be back coaching at the club soon, and even playing tennis to aid his fitness as he recovered.

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