When veteran surf lifesaver David Winner’s limping body was lifted from a deep pool of rocks at the beach where he had been swimming nearly every day for 40 years, those who tried to save him feared it was too late.
- After training hundreds of surf lifesavers, David Winner had to save himself after suffering a near-fatal drowning in 2021.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation saved his life, but he is now a quadriplegic
- After a record 90 people drowned in Australia’s waterways over the summer, he’s on a mission to train 1 million Australians in CPR by 2030.
“I thought I was just trying to move,” said Andrew Massey, Mr. Winner’s neighbor and volunteer lifesaver.
But Mr. Massey, who was trained by Mr. Winner, immediately started CPR and refused to give up on his friend.
“I was going as hard as I could,” he said.
In August 2021, at Coalcliffe Beach, 60 kilometers south of Sydney, a 71-year-old swimmer, now 71, was pushed into deep rock by an unpredictable barrage of waves.
He hit his head, fractured his spine, and remained unconscious in the water for over three minutes.
“I drowned, went into cardiac arrest, and died that day,” Winer said.
It took five men to lift Mr. Winner from the sea. They laid him on a rock ledge and the group started CPR as his head was bleeding.
I continued chest compressions for at least 15 minutes until paramedics arrived.
Judy Weiner rushes to the beach as the battle for her husband’s life rages on.
“It was surreal. I couldn’t believe it was happening,” she said.
“Then a helicopter with doctors and nurses arrived.”
A lifelong member of Surf Life Saving Illawarra, Mr. Winner has trained hundreds of volunteer lifeguards over the decades.
He was known for saying, “I teach CPR because I might be the one who will be saved one day!”
Of the 10 people who helped resuscitate Mr. Winner, four actually learned CPR from him.
A grand vision that saves lives
After a near-death experience in which Justin Scarr, CEO of the Royal Lifesaving Society of Australia, said it was the “worst summer drowning year on record”, Mr Winner is now in the midst of life. I have a new mission.
He plans to train 1 million Australians in CPR for free or at a low cost by 2030.
“I am a role model to show that CPR can help save lives,” he said.
“That’s why I not only practice and teach it, but I strongly believe in [that] Everyone should know how to try. ”
Winner, who suffered a spinal cord injury in the accident and is now a quadriplegic and dependent on a walker, continues to give safety briefings to ocean swimmers and train volunteer lifesavers at the Coalcliffe Surf Club.
Patrol is more important than ever after a terrible summer, when 90 people drowned in Australia’s waterways and pools and Surf Life Saving Australia rescued around 6,000 people.
Train 1 million people in CPR
Mr. Winner established a foundation in his name to provide free or low-cost CPR training to people who do not have the financial ability, time or willingness to attend first aid courses.
“We need someone who can give the first CPR before paramedics arrive because the first moment counts,” he said.
“And I walk, talk, and prove how true it is.”
Run by volunteer CPR trainers, sessions are held in relaxed community settings such as halls and surf clubs, and participants are not required to take any formal exams.
Winner said online training, including instructional videos, will also be available to help as many Australians as possible learn lifesaving techniques.
The initiative will also offer refresher courses for those who have had previous CPR training, as techniques and guidelines change over time.
Surf Live Saving Australia said a full first aid certificate is preferred, but the organization supports short CPR courses and has been conducting them online for the past two to three years.
“There is no question that CPR awareness and skill development is very important,” said Shane Doe, General Manager of Coastal Safety.
“The whole point of CPR is that it’s better to try than not to try. You never know when the life you’ve saved will become someone you love.”
The first session is due to start in New South Wales next month, but Winner said he plans to expand the initiative across Australia.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-09/lifesaver-plans-cpr-training-for-one-million-for-free/102299248 Surf lifesaver David Winner plans to teach CPR to 1 million Australians after summer drownings.