Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shorty Martiniello survives cardiac arrest

John 'Shorty' Martiniello is grateful for the quick action of a Rochester trainer and a defibrillator in saving his life.

MONIQUE FREER July 2, 2014 3:30am

‘‘I may not have been here; I could easily not have been here.’’

John ‘Shorty’ Martiniello knows how close he came to death.

The Benalla football legend was clinically dead after he went into cardiac arrest while umpiring a reserves game between Benalla and Rochester on Saturday, June 21.

It was only thanks to the quick action of Rochester trainer Athol Hann and the use of the club’s defibrillator that he is here to tell the tale two weeks later.

There were little warning signs for the Benalla Saints great. In the first quarter he developed pins and needles on the inside of his elbows, which moved across his back in the second quarter.

But in the third quarter things deteriorated rapidly, and when he attempted to throw the ball from the boundary he struggled to do so effectively.

‘‘Looking back on it, maybe I didn’t have the strength to throw it straight up,’’ Mr Martiniello said.

‘‘When they threw it back at me was when I knew I was in a bit of trouble because I couldn’t move my legs, and when I caught it, I caught it halfway down and that was it — I kept on falling down to the ground.

‘‘I’ve heard of people seeing the other side or seeing the light. I’m not saying I did, but it was eerie to think that I wanted to get up and push myself up out of whatever I was in.’’

When Mr Martiniello went into cardiac arrest, Mr Hann — an intensive care nurse — began CPR with the assistance of Saints senior player and paramedic Brook Martyn, Mr Martiniello’s daughter Hayley — who is studying paramedics — and several other trained nurses who were spectators at the match.

‘‘Athol Hann was in control and he had people and nurses... and they were all listening and letting Athol control the situation,’’ Mr Martiniello said.

‘‘I really admire how Athol went about it and everyone was sort of working together rather than against each other.’’


For full story, see this week’s Ensign.

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