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Stag party saves life of man who suffered heart attack


Declan Bolger

Declan Bolger

Declan Bolger

A stag party took a turn for the worst when a Dublin man suffered a heart attack after playing a soccer game.

Declan Bolger (46) collapsed after playing a soccer game in Dalymount Park last Saturday.

He described it as a “miracle” that he survived after his friends worked together to save his life.

“I don’t remember a thing about the incident but I’m so grateful that the boys there were fully trained in CPR and knew what to do. I’m so lucky,” Mr Bolger said.

One of his heroic friends, Keith Donnelly (40), a psychiatric nurse, said things got serious when he stopped moving.

“Declan had been playing but he was off the pitch at the time and all of a sudden he was on the ground and it looked like he was having a seizure. It got more serious when he stopped moving,” Mr Donnelly said.

For the ten minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive, his three friends Keith, Paul Malone and Paddy Carney all worked together to save his life.

“We worked as a team the three of us. He was coming and going and we were counting the seconds in between.

“There was eight seconds when nothing was happening,” said Keith, a final year psychiatric nurse in DCU.

“Declan is the fittest guy. You’d want him on your football team at any age. He runs regularly in the parks. It was the most horrendous thing to witness but it’s amazing that it was long term friends that saved his life,” said the trainee nurse.

“It was absolutely frantic when we were working on him.

“There was so much going on around us but we just zoned out. He wasn’t Declan Bolger anymore, he was a man who had to be saved.

“I had to find a frame of mind, I thought “I am on a mission now to get this man out of trouble,’” he added.

When he arrived at in hospital, it emerged that one of Mr Bolger’s arteries was blocked.

“It was a ticking time bomb, we are so lucky it happened where it did with so many people around with first-aid training. The right people were there at the right time,” said Keith.

Mr Bolger left intensive care on Sunday and was fully conscious and talking yesterday afternoon.

The game was part of a surprise stag party for groom Damien Smith when pals from various clubs he played for came together.

“It was to be his fourth or fifth stag,” said friend Keith Donnelly. “He’s getting married in September.”

The pre-marital celebrations were completely abandoned after Mr Bolger suddenly became ill.

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