A former Springbok rugby player was resuscitated and saved by his biggest fan after suffering a heart attack in a parking lot.


South Africa – Frik du Preez, an 82-year-old former South African rugby union player who represented Northern Transvaal and the Springboks recently suffered a heart attack but was resuscitated by Trish Armstrong, a Metro Police Officer and his biggest fan.

The talented sportsman who was also named South Africa’s “rugby player of the 20th century” was attending a golf fundraising event in Centurion on Thursday, the 4 May 2017 when the incident took place.

Frik du Preez
Photo Cred: Wesel Oosthuizen/Saspa

Ina Strijdom, one of Trish’s friends was attending the event and knew how much her friend loved Frik.

Trish has always spoken openly about the sportsman and recalled how she had looked up to Frik since she was 5 years old.

“He has always been my hero and motivated me through many of my toughest times in my life.”

Ina immediately snapped a photo and sent it to Trish, inviting her to the event to come meet him. Normally Trish would have declined as it was a week night and she has just finished gym with no other clothes but she knew she couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

“As soon as Trish realised why Ina wanted her to come, she jumped in her car, sweaty clothes and all, and rushed to the lodge full of excitement to meet Oom Frik.”

Trish arrived at the venue to a state of confusion in the parking lot. She could hear yelling and screaming but was not sure what was happening. The Police Officers instincts kicked in as she made her way to the scene.

“She jumped into action and came round the corner, falling over Frik’s size 14 feet.”

“When she looked down, she realised that her hero was laying on the floor. No pulse and no breathing.”

Frik had suffered a heart attack in the parking lot while collecting something from his car and Trish was the only person there that could help him.

The trained Police Officer performed CPR for almost 5 minutes, refusing to stop and give up. When asked what drove her to assist for such a long time, her answer was that Frik was her greatest hero and she would never have let him die.

His first breath was something that Trish will never forget.

When the ambulance arrived the 4 paramedics battled to move “Oom Frik” and once again Trish had to step in to lift the former rugby player into the ambulance (she is also a professional weight lifter).

Trish went to the hospital to meet her hero to make sure he was okay, only to be greeted with a smile and a hug and Oom Frik calling her, his hero.

Frik du Preez and Trish Armstrong in hospital

Silke Bucker, a friend to GoodThingsGuy and Frik’s niece spoke to us about the entire ordeal. 

“I find this story so extraordinary for so many reasons. If this was any other person but her, he would not be alive.”

“She is physically and mentally strong enough to bring one of the biggest men back to life. Her love for him ensured that she didn’t give up. If she had gone home to change he would be gone. If she decided not to go he would be gone. If she took a different route he would be gone. So many things worked together ensuring she was there at the right time.”

“People that suffer heart attacks die due to lack of oxygen to the brain during the time their heart is stopped.”

“She breathed for his part for over 5 minutes and he had no damage at all. His heart is perfect (after a stent) and there were no other signs that he even had this heart attack.”

“We are all so quick to judge people and I’m sure she gets that every day, but I am telling you, I am so grateful for her strength – a normal person would never have been able to do this.”

Silke Bucker and Trish Armstrong

Sources: Interview with Silke Bucker
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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