Henley rugby player urges others to learn CPR after girlfriend saved his life

  • ITV Meridian's Kara Digby reports from Henley-on-Thames

A rugby player from Oxfordshire who says he's lucky to be alive after suffering a cardiac arrest, is on a mission to get more young people learning CPR.

Morgan MacRae, 22, from Henley-on-Thames, suffered a cardiac arrest in August.

His girlfriend had to perform CPR until paramedics got to him - but if she hadn't have known the life-saving skill, Morgan says it could have been a different outcome.

"The doctor said the work she did, and how quickly she did it, saved my life," Morgan said.

"It meant that my brain was saved and I wasn't in a different state.

"By people knowing these life-saving skills, that qualification can quite frankly save your life."

  • Morgan MacRae says he owes his life to his girlfriend who performed CPR

Morgan had been in London with friends when one night he suffered a cardiac arrest, despite being an aspiring young rugby player in the peak of health.

Luckily his girlfriend Kitty had been taught CPR at her university's sports society and was able to perform the life-saving treatment which doctors say had been vital in Morgan's outcome.

Morgan was put into a medically induced coma for two days and spent a week in intensive care before being fitted with an implanted defibrillator to monitor his heart.

A charity promoting heart screening programmes says heart conditions can develop at any age.

Dr Steven Cox from Cardiac Risk in the Young told ITV Meridian that young people are at risk of undiagnosed heart conditions.

He said: "Young Sudden Cardiac Death affects 12 fit and healthy young people every week in the UK.

"We're contacted almost every day by a family whose child has died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. About 1 in 300 people we screen will have a potentially life-threatening condition which they're not aware of."

  • Dr Steven Cox speaks to ITV Meridian

Morgan is now calling for more young people to learn CPR in schools, universities, and even for CPR training to be a requirement before undertaking a driving test.

"The way I want to do it, I want to get into schools, I was never taught in school or at university.

"None of my friends were taught at school, I think my girlfriend was very lucky to be taught at university.

"I think we need to get as many schools, sports clubs, parents, whatever, taught as much as possible...

"One more qualification... it could save your life, or someone else's life and I think it is just so important and needs to be done."

Morgan is working with Code Blue CPR and is writing to MPs in the region to get his message out there.

How to perform CPR:

  • Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person's chest, then place the palm of your other hand on top and press down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute.

  • After every 30 chest compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.

  • Tilt the person's head gently and lift the chin up with 2 fingers. Pinch the person's nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about 1 second. Check that their chest rises. Give 2 rescue breaths.

  • Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

Source: NHS England

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