The importance of CPR and defibrillators was scarily put on show for Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre lifeguards recently.

Veteran underwater hockey player Marc Richards (pictured centre) suffered a heart attack while in the aquatic pool late last month.

He was hauled from the water by teammates where supervising lifeguard Fraser Kelly, 22 (pictured right), and colleague James Clues, 18 (pictured left), put their training into action by applying Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and a nearby Automated External Defibrillator (AED), keeping Mr Richards alive until paramedics arrived.

Mr Richards, 67, was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery and is now expected to make a full recovery.

"About 10 minutes into the first half I conked out," said Mr Richards, a former Australian underwater hockey representative.

"There was a bit of pain and then the next thing I know I was on the side of the pool deck. They got me out and they started CPR and put the AED on me at least three times.

"I tried to drown and have a heart attack at the same time, so I had a taken in a lot of water as well. I knew I was in a lot of strife because I was having trouble breathing so I was trying to keep calm.

"I would have been gone without their help. The players in the pool were quick to get me out and then the lifeguards knew what to do and were very responsive.

"I'm looking forward to thanking everyone involved."

Acting Hobart Lord Mayor Helen Burnet paid tribute to the staff and community members that came to Mr Richards' aid.

"It is a great credit to all involved that this ends up as a good news story and not a tragedy," Cr Burnet said.

"This training is so vital and not just for lifeguards, but for all members of the community as you never know where and when it will be needed to save a life."

Royal Life Saving Society (Tas) Project and Programs Manager Karina Siggins said CPR was a critical life-saving procedure.

"During cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping blood to the brain and other vital organs," Ms Siggins said.

"With a decrease in blood flow to the brain, the victim falls unconscious.

"The brain can suffer damage in as few as three minutes without proper blood flow.

"CPR helps to keep blood flowing and may help minimize the damage to the victim."

Mr Richards message to the public was to be aware of any heart conditions, but also wished for CPR to be taught in schools and at all sporting clubs/organisations. "It is vital, especially in any sporting organisation," Mr Richards said.

"They should have at least one person at any event or match with good, current CPR knowledge and practice."

Healthy Hobart Portfolio Co-Chair Dr Zelinda Sherlock said the outcome was a credit to the DKHAC staff and training.

"Thank you to James and Fraser for their swift actions and composure and thank you to Marc's teammates for springing into action and ensuring he is still here to tell his tale and spread the message of the importance of CPR," Cr Dr Sherlock said.

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