Take a look at these girls standing around Maggie Egan.
They’re proof that to be a hero, you certainly don’t have to wear a cape.
Further to that, these girls are proof that even though while on the football field they are very much opposition, in times of need, when it is literally life or death, it’s all differences aside.
It was about a month ago now. It was a beautiful day at Cullulleraine and the football grounds were back to their former glory with both fields in use.
Meringur were hosting Gol Gol on the first oval, while Werrimull and Cardross were playing on the second.
In the game against the Roos and the Hawks, no-one could predict what was about to unfold.
Twenty-year-old Meringur footballer Maggie Egan started to feel unwell heading into half time.
She assumed her sugar level might be low so stocked up on some lollies. It did have an impact, and she felt marginally better.
But not for long.
Back on field after half-time, Maggie’s eyesight started to fail and she began to have difficulties breathing.
It wasn’t long before she collapsed as she was led to her team’s bench.
What followed, was an emergency that lasted about 35 minutes until the ambulance arrived, as Maggie experienced seizure after seizure.
At one point she even stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated.
Thankfully, there was a group of footballers and a netballer, along with a medical professional that came to her aid, together with Meringur’s trainer − Maddie McPhee.
Those Werrimull footballers were playing their own game on the adjoining oval, but after being made aware of the emergency unfolding, the match became insignificant and any of the girls with appropriate knowledge and training rushed to help.
Ali Lush was watching her partner, Jemma Johnson play in the same game at the time.
She’s a registered nurse and when it became apparent what was happening, she rushed to help.
“As a nurse, there is a framework we utilise for prioritising care and informing our actions in episodes of acute deterioration,” Ali said.
“Being that when I first attended to Maggie she was alert and maintaining her own airway, my role was that of an emotional support.
“My goal was to rapidly establish a trusting rapport and provide a calm and reassuring presence for both Maggie and her sister Rosie.”
Maggie doesn’t remember much during the incident, although she does recall coming to and seeing Werrimull female footballer Danita Lane standing over her. It was Danita, also in the health care field, who administered CPR.
She remembers more once she got to hospital, where she stayed for four days as doctors ran test after test to try and determine the cause of the incident.
“When I was told of how serious it was I couldn’t believe it,” Maggie said.
“It was a warm day playing football and I thought I had maybe just fainted.
“But when they told me I had the seizures, I knew something wasn’t right as I’m not epileptic.
“They do think the cause of it is heart related as they ran an ECG and they weren’t happy with the pattern.
“They think the adrenalin of the game caused strain on my heart.”
A lot of hugs
When Maggie was reunited for the first time with the girls that came to her aid that Saturday this week, there was many hugs shared and much relief to see Maggie not only alive, but smiling.
But the future for Maggie isn’t as bright as she would hope it to be.
“It’s not a good looking future, to be honest,” Maggie admitted.
Football is out of the question for the immediate future as she can’t receive clearance from the doctors to play until a cause is identified and they haven’t identified what her triggers are.
On top of this Maggie has stage four kidney disease and by year’s end expects to be on dialysis, which she says she will need to be on until a donor is found.
The process for a donor is not expected to start until she is closer to 30 and being on dialysis will further put a halt to Maggie’s footballing days.
Despite all she has had to deal with, Maggie is a determined and strong woman and has taken what life has thrown at her.
You’d hope though, with all she has had to endure so far, that she can soon catch a break.
Right now though, she is incredibly thankful to be alive.
“I have a massive amount of appreciation and gratitude for these girls,” Maggie said.
“They didn’t know me from a bar of soap, and for them to come over and assist someone from another team – it’s big ups to them.”