SAVED: Dennis Magnay suffered a heart attack while refereeing a boxing bout at the Casino RSM.
SAVED: Dennis Magnay suffered a heart attack while refereeing a boxing bout at the Casino RSM. The Northern Star Archives

Boxer had planned to fight, instead he saved this man's life

A LISMORE BASE Hospital wardsman boxing at an amateur tournament in Casino on Saturday night went from fighter to lifesaver in seconds when the referee of his bout collapsed with a heart attack.

For Ben West - a wardsman in the operating theatre at Lismore Base Hospital - saving lives was the last thing on his mind when he started the evening's final bout with fellow boxer Tyler White at the Casino RSM Club.

Referee Dennis Magnay had just instructed the two fighters to break at the end of the third, stepping between them with arms outstretched, when he collapsed back, clutching his chest.

Acting on instinct, Mr West didn't waste any time.

Had it happened somewhere else, if he didn't receive immediate assistance, he would have been dead.

"I ripped my gloves off and threw them away, checked his pulse and checked his breathing," he said.

"He would have died. He didn't have anything.

"I put him on his back and started CPR and called out for someone to give me a hand so we could do compressions."

Mr West was joined by Moree-based trainer Danny Cheetham, who had completed first aid training, and together they were able to provide CPR.

He guessed it took them five to 10 minutes to get a pulse and then only after RSM staff brought in a defibrillator, so the CPR saved Mr Magnay's life by maintaining oxygen to his brain.

"It was lucky I was in the ring with him," Mr West said.

Mr Magnay was taken to Lismore Base Hospital where, on Sunday morning, he said he had no memory of what happened. He is currently in a stable condition.

Mr Magnay is the state president of the Amateur Boxing League but suggested the incident could be the end of his days as a referee.

Publicity officer for the Casino RSM Youth Club Ken McPherson said it was lucky Mr Magnay was there.

"We didn't expect him to pull through, really."

"Had it happened somewhere else, if he didn't receive immediate assistance, he would have been dead."


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