Monday 18 December 2017

'She was gone cold' - Family's relief as camogie player Michelle is saved after collapse

Michelle Herbert and her two-year-old son Conor after Newcastle West’s camogie victory over Patrickswell in May last year. Photo: Press 22
Michelle Herbert and her two-year-old son Conor after Newcastle West’s camogie victory over Patrickswell in May last year. Photo: Press 22

David Raleigh

The family of a camogie player who was saved after she collapsed during a match has called on the GAA to help fund defibrillators for all sports clubs.

Mother of one Michelle Herbert was playing in the Limerick junior county final for Newcastle West against Tournafulla on Sunday when she suddenly lost consciousness.

A defibrillator owned by Feohanagh Castlemahon GAA Club, where the game was played, was used to resuscitate Ms Herbert, who is in her 30s.

Michelle's husband Jer, who had brought their two-year old son Conor to the match, along with her parents Mary and James, her team manager, and her uncle Tom, a team selector, all looked on in disbelief from the sidelines as Michelle clung to life.

"Her father is the manager of the team. He was standing beside her on the sideline. It was an awful shock," her mother Mary said. "Jer flew into the field to her. She was gone cold at that stage, it was not a nice scene to witness.

"But we have had good news today. We could have been looking at arranging a funeral," she added.

An agri-science teacher at Hazelwood Secondary College, Michelle was later airlifted to University Hospital Limerick where her condition is said to be stable.

Her grateful mother Mary got behind calls from local camogie officials for Croke Park chiefs to provide grants for defibrillators.

"It's so important to have defibrillators in sports clubs. We would add our voice for grant aid to be provided for clubs to buy them," Ms Herbert said.

She thanked all those who came to her daughter's aid, in particular Tournafulla full forward and trained nurse Sarah Jane Joy.

Frank Reidy, GAA Munster Council representative and Secretary of Feohanagh Castlemahon GAA Club, said he would be calling on GAA bosses to help clubs pay for defibrillators.

Bríd Kennedy, secretary of Limerick Camogie, said she would raise the matter with Croke Park representatives. "It is something we definitely need rolled out," she added.

Croke Park could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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