Mr Harry Parkinm,a 49-year-old businessman, was playing for a doctors’ team at Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club in Devon yesterday afternoon.
He suffered a serious heart attack near the start of the match in front of a crowd of several people, including two of his own children.
Treasurer John Eggleton added: ‘When he initially fell down, I don’t think people realised what was going on and it took a few seconds to sink in that something was very wrong.’
As the man was unconscious and lying on the pitch, one of the doctors, Dr Richard Mejzner, a GP at Budleigh Salterton Medical Centre ran to his car for the defibrillator and treated the man where he lay.
The Devon Air Ambulance was called and landed on the pitch. The man was flown to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.
The match, against a cricket team from the town’s football club, was being played in Budleigh’s community league.
Cricket club secretary Kevin Curran said he thought the man was lucky to be alive.
‘He is a well-known member of the community who does an awful lot for the club and everyone was completely shocked when this happened,’ he said.
‘The match had only just begun and he was nowhere near the ball when he collapsed.
‘It was extremely fortunate there were a number of doctors around and one had this piece of equipment in his car – he may well have saved his life.
‘The very quick action of the doctor involved, who is a bit of a hero I guess in that respect – but he’d only say he was doing his natural job – his quick action has meant that our friend and colleague has got another opportunity, as it were.
‘We’re all just delighted to hear today that he is making progress, and is obviously still in hospital and having tests, but he’s in the right place and getting the right medical attention.’
Mr Curran said the club will now look at buying a defibrillator and training members in how to use it.
‘We have all the basic medical equipment but this incident has highlighted just how important defibrillators are,’ he said. ‘For a relatively small outlay we could have a piece of kit that can save lives.’
The doctor who came to his assistance is thought to be a GP who works at a surgery in the town.
The match was abandoned after the incident.
Mr Curran said the club may also want to support the air ambulance trust. ‘It is a remarkable charity that is always in need of money,’ he said.
‘I am sure that when the dust settles the committee will want to show our support for it.’