Quick thinking saved player’s life LISA MAYOH PROUD PARTNER dailytelegraph.com.au/prideofaustralia IT was a normal Saturday rugby game for Sydney University sports physician Katherine Rae – until a tackle almost turned to tragedy and her quick thinking saved a life.

Dr Rae was called on to help a player from the opposition who had suffered a sternum injury while making a tackle during the clash on May 30.

“We checked for neck injuries and he seemed OK, but I gave him a green whistle for pain but he couldn’t even breathe it in, he was in too much pain,” she said.

“It got worse. He was going in and out of consciousness – it is a very stressful situation when someone is there and you don’t know how to fix them.” After doing heart compressions Dr Rae could hear no air entry on one side of his chest and two on the other, meaning the 19-year-old had popped a hole in his lung and air was escaping.

“He couldn’t breathe.

The lung had collapsed and he only thing you can do is put a needle in their chest to relieve the pressure.

“That’s a rare thing to happen in the middle of a football field but I had a small needle and I put it in his chest – you’re meant to get a big hiss from a release of air but we got a very small one, but every second from there you could see him relax and improve. I remember looking up at his girlfriend and seeing tears in her eyes and I knew I had to keep it together.” Dr Rae, who has been nominated for a Pride of Australia Outstanding Bravery Medal for her actions, said she was honoured.

“I went into sports medicine because people don’t die playing sport – I wanted to help healthy people,” the mother of four laughed.

“I went to see the player in hospital and met his family and you could see how grateful they were. Knowing I saved him means a lot.” Nominations are received across 10 categories, including Child of Courage, Outstanding Bravery, Inspiration, Fair Go and Community Spirit. To nominate someone you know, visit prideofaustralia.com.au.