Joshua Bacon was set into panic mode when his fearless nine year-old son Jake, suffered a heart-attack and collapsed unconscious on the soccer field last year.
Playing for the Bargara Football Club on Martens Oval, Jake told the coach he was tired and was subbed out of the match.
Collapsing shortly after, Jake was taken to Bundaberg Hospital and rushed to the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s (RFDS) base, for immediate transportation to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.
A year on from Jake’s close brush with death, he and his parents returned to thank the RFDS (Queensland Section) and first responders who saved his life.
"Jake collapsed on the side of the field and his coach was trying to wake him up, he was unresponsive," Mr Bacon said.
"The service was fantastic, if it wasn’t for first responders, RFDS, friends and family, I don’t think Jake would be here today."
Mr Bacon said it was fortunate a doctor and two nurses happened to be watching the game, as they managed to get Jake breathing again.
From there the paramedics soon arrived and took Jake to hospital.
With his parents and a room full of doctors, the call was made to fly Jake to Brisbane for urgent specialist care.
For Jake’s father, it was already an emotional day when Jake collapsed, it marked three years to the day since his own father passed from a heart attack.
"Juanita (his wife) got the panicked phone call from me, I was freaking out," Mr Bacon said.
"There was one doctor there who was adamant there was something else going on, she really pushed for Jake to go to Brisbane.
"When we were down in Brisbane they said Jake was born without his left coronary artery attached."
"They said it was a matter of when (this would happen), not if."
The family returned to the Bundaberg Base in September, to give their thanks to the work of the flight crew.
RFDS Bundaberg Nurse Manager Robyn Langton was the flight nurse who took Jake and his father to Brisbane.
"I have a nine year-old boy who plays soccer in the same league as Jake," Ms Langton said.
"For a parent that’s quite overwhelming but Josh was amazing.
"It was quite serious and it did lead to some critical care that was required down at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.
"I’ve been a nurse for more than 20 years, you do see a lot of different things but it was a very special case."
She said it’s heart-warming to be remembered for what the RFDS does every day.
"It’s great to see him back playing sport, happy, sprightly and probably very cheeky," Ms Langton said.
"Sometimes you’ll do a transfer and wonder what did happen in that case."
"It’s nice to see where the story has taken Jake."
Jake spent almost a month in Brisbane, where he underwent bypass surgery and specialist care.
Life has relatively returned to normal for Jake and his family, aside from regular trips to Brisbane for check-ups.
Jake is back playing soccer, saying he’s kicking a lot of goals.
"I just thought it was stressful and I was lying in a bed for ages," Jake said.
"They (RFDS) helped get me to where I am today."
Paramedic Anthony Fletcher was also part of the crew who attended Jake’s scene.
"When we arrived, we were surprised he was unconscious because it’s very rare for that kind of situation to happen," Mr Fletcher said.
"By the time he was at the hospital, he was breathing, had a pulse and blood pressure."
"It’s a great outcome for Jake and his family, we are happy to be part of that."
This article was originally published by Bundaberg Today.