A Vernon, BC, Zamboni driver with a background in volunteer firefighting was in the right place at the right time when he helped save a stranger’s life in February 2020.
“It’s an honor. I’m blessed. I couldn’t imagine a better outcome: Al is making a full recovery, we’re friends. He’s an awesome guy,” Rockall said.
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It all started almost two years ago in February 2020, when ice hockey came to an abrupt halt.
A player had fallen on the bench and fainted.
Rockall says he ran to find Vinther slumped between the bench and the boards and started giving chest compressions.
“It was intense. The guy on the phone from 911 was trying to give me instructions…and the whole team was standing around me and people were yelling at me, ‘Do it! Do it!'” to Rockall remembered.
Hockey players had already received an automated external defibrillator (AED).
“The AED started doing its job and it was telling me to push harder and then it said it was analyzing and a shock was advised. So I gave it a shock,” Rockall said. Told.
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It took more pressure and a second blow before the fire department and paramedics arrived and took over.
Vinther was still unconscious and Rockl was not sure how he would fare.
“Thankfully the paramedic came back a few hours later and said that Al had started breathing on his own on the way to the hospital, that he was in a coma and we’ll see what’s going to happen,” Rockall said.
“He woke up after a few days.”
Rockall said, incidentally, that he was with another team member when he received the news that Vinther was no longer in a coma.
“We both got the message at the same time. It was an amazing feeling. We hugged each other. It was surreal,” Rockall said.
Vinther said that the last thing he remembered about that day was going to the rink. His next memory is of waking up in the hospital.
He is grateful to Rockal and his companions for helping to keep him alive.
Vinther said, “I was very fortunate that it happened where they were partners, otherwise it would not have been a good outcome for me or my family.”
Rockall said that Vinther was able to walk back into the area within weeks of the incident.
“I was just there and he was just looking for the guy who saved his life. I looked out over the concourse and… I got chills. [I] Went over and hugged her and I said, ‘You look so much better than last time,'” Rockall said.
The pair have since become friends and the two were on hand as Rockall received the Vital Links Award on Friday.
“Be grateful for every day you have and do what you can to support your fellow human beings. If you can, get your CPR training and learn how to use an AED,” Vinther said.
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