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Local champ saves life at boxing gym

A weight-loss technique favoured by boxers almost landed Jim O’Loughlin a knockout blow.

When the 50-year-old wore a garbage bag under his clothes while training at Pooraka’s Foxy’s Gym in March - something he had done countless times to encourage sweating - he never imagined it would almost kill him. And if it weren’t for the quick thinking of good mate Bruce Dockrey, 66, he’d probably be dead. 

Bruce had arrived at the gym with his grandson just five minutes before Jim, who had been running, collapsed. “All I remember is running. I don’t remember anything after that until the hospital,” Jim said.

But Bruce remembers everything.

“Jim sat down on a chair and then he just slumped,” the North Adelaide resident said. “I dragged him down on to the floor, but he had no pulse and he wasn’t breathing.”

Having no first-aid experience Bruce drew on what he’d seen on TV to perform improvised CPR for 15 minutes until help arrived and called an ambulance. With just his grandson with him, Bruce couldn’t stop CPR for long enough to find a phone and call for help himself.

Three days later, Jim awoke from a coma at the Lyell McEwin Hospital having officially died, his brain and internal organs shutting down owing to overheating and dehydration because of the plastic bag. “Thanks is not enough. I see things totally differently now,” Jim said. “You have to embrace what you’re doing because at least you’re doing it.”

The men, who volunteer their time to young boxers at Foxy’s Gym, both know how lucky they were that Bruce came along when he did. “At this age you do what you can” Bruce said.

Jim added: “If not for Bruce I would be dead and would not be celebrating my 31st wedding anniversary. “I’ve got a defib now but my doctors say there will be no long-term effects. I’m feeling sweet as a nut.”


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