Northern Ireland

Referee Gabriel Tumelty's wife in defibrillator call

Image caption Gabriel Tumelty is now recovering after collapsing during a GAA game

The wife of a GAA referee who had to be revived with a defibrillator during a game in Newry a week ago has said the machines should be available at all public places.

Gabriel Tumelty is now recovering after collapsing on the pitch during a match between Burren and Longstone at Pairc Esler on 7 August.

His wife Anne said he owed his life to the fact that the defibrillator was on hand.

She also said the fact that personnel trained in its use had been at the ground and that the machine was properly maintained had been crucial.

Mrs Tumelty said it had brought home to her how important it was to have defibrillators available not just at sporting events, but at public places such as shopping centres and schools.

"It could happen at a shopping centres - this could have happened to Gabriel anywhere," she said.

"If it's there (the defibrillator) you've given a person a chance, a second bite of the cherry."

Mrs Tumelty said what had happened to her husband had been a complete shock.

"Anyone who knows Gabriel, knows he's a very fit and healthy individual," she said.

"I'm glad that I didn't actually witness this, but it was a long car journey down to Newry."

Steady progress

Mrs Tumetly praised all the medical staff who had helped her husband after the incident.

"He's doing fine, he's making slow, steady progress," she said.

"They tell us if the defibrillator hadn't been at the pitch , we'd be in a different situation."

On Friday another GAA referee, Martin Mulholland, collapsed and died during a hurling match in Swatragh in County Londonderry.

Paramedics treated him on the pitch and then brought him to the changing rooms where a defibrillator was used.

He was then taken to Coleraine hospital, where he later died.

Last month, Chris McNeill, 17, collapsed during a Milk Cup football game in Portstewart.

He was revived with a defibrillator by a doctor whose son was playing in the game, and members of the St John Ambulance.

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