Wick FC old boy thanks life-saving gym staff

Former Wick FC centre-forward Rod Wood is back in training after his near-death experience
Former Wick FC centre-forward Rod Wood is back in training after his near-death experience

A MAN whose heart stopped beating for 40 minutes after he suffered a heart attack in a health club jacuzzi is back in training just months later.

Wick Football Club’s former centre-forward, Rod ‘Woody’ Wood, 52, was winding down after a workout at David Lloyd, in Yeoman Road, Durrington, in February, when he lost consciousness and ‘swallow dived’ into the jacuzzi. Staff at the health club reacted quickly, using CPR and a defibrillator to save his life.

“What can you say to someone who saved your life, just thank you ever so much,” said Rod. “If Nathan and the team weren’t here, I wouldn’t be here, without a doubt. They could have easily stopped at one point, but thankfully they kept going. If I had been on a bike on the Downs, no-one would have found me.”

The panic alarm was raised as soon as Rod fell into the water and it was clear he was unconscious.

Lifeguard Callum Phelps and a paramedic swimming at the time were the first to come to Rod’s aid. The pair performed CPR until Nathan Gillingham, the club’s sports manager, and five members of staff arrived and used a defibrillator.

Nathan said: “To keep doing CPR for that long is quite physically intense. It’s the second time I’ve had to do it. The adrenaline kicks in and something takes over and you have to put the emotions to one side. We go on these courses regularly and you hope you never have to call on it.

“We are lucky we’ve got the paramedics so close and we’ve got so many doctors and paramedics at the club.”

Archie Morton, the club’s maintenance technician and a long-time friend of Rod, was at the scene and made sure the area was clear.

He said: “When I knew it was Rod, my heart just sank. It’s emotional, you don’t want to lose a mate.”

Ex-builder Rod, of Goring, played with Wick FC in for 10 years, leaving the club when he was 34. He scored more than 400 goals for them.

For the full story, see this week’s Gazette (Thursday, May 22).