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Linesman on the ball with first aid

OFFICIATING soccer games is often a thankless task but Dylan Shannon ended up as the hero of the hour at Frank Healy Park in Ennis recently.

The 26-year-old was linesman, as Newmarket Celtic B faced off against Avenue United B, when spectator Colm Reidy, whose son was playing for Newmarket, was taken ill.

Dylan has first aid training, much of it gained through his time with the Civil Defence, and he used it to help Colm, prior to an ambulance arriving.

“I was on the dug-out side. I just heard a bit of commotion behind me and it didn’t really make sense. There was a goal kick or free kick to be taken and it’d normally be quiet. I could hear people gasping and someone said something about an ambulance. When I turned around, I could see someone lying on the ground. I hopped the fence then to go over to him,” said Dylan.

“I just checked his airway first; I could see that his jaw was locked. He had gone pure tight, so his breathing was extremely laboured at the time. I could tell that there was fluid there as well.I managed to get his airway open, checked to make sure there was no blockage and I maintained his airway by doing a manoeuvre, the head tilt chin lift. I just listened to his breath and heart rate and put him into the recovery position,” he added.

Dylan stayed with Colm and kept an eye on his vital signs until the ambulance came, around 10 minutes from when it had been called. The match was abandoned.

Dylan was quick to point out that several other people had been involved and he praised the spirit shown on the evening. “It was really positive to see that everyone was only concerned about the one thing, making sure he was ok. If you asked anyone to help, they would have done it on the spot.”

He joked that it was a rare time that no-one can complain about his performance and he said that learning first-aid skills is very important. “Being able to help and having the skills to do it is always of benefit. You can’t put a price on being able to help someone at a time they need it.”