Shinty referee returns as spectator just two weeks after cardiac arrest

Two players rushed to Stevie Maclachlan's aid after he collapsed during match between Caberfeidh and Kinlochshiel.

The last time 56-year-old referee Stevie Maclachlan was at Caberfeidh’s shinty ground in Strathpeffer, the game took an unexpected and serious turn.

Just over two weeks ago, and 12 minutes into the match between Caberfeidh and Kinlochshiel, the experienced official went into cardiac arrest.

But on Saturday he was back at the ground, watching the re-run of the match thanks to the quick actions of two of the Kinlochshiel players, Conor Cormack, and Keith Macrae.

Neil G. Paterson

Stevie told STV News: ”I’ve been really well since I came out of hospital on Tuesday.

“The recovery is going really well, I’m beginning to walk more, it’ll take some time.”

The players, who are also firefighters, rushed to Stevie’s side after he collapsed, using a defibrillator from the Caberfeidh clubhouse and CPR to resuscitate him.

Their actions were celebrated by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at the end of the game on Saturday.

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Conor said: “It was really nice that we are here to celebrate, considering how these things can go.

“It’s raised some awareness too, so some good had come out of the situation.

“It’s great to see Stevie looking so well.”

Stevie’s son, Mark, who’s also a shinty player added: “Once you see him now compared with a few weeks ago, it’s chalk and cheese.

“I can’t put into words how happy I am that he’s here today, it’s been emotional.”

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Mr Maclachlan’s family have now started a campaign to put in more lifesaving equipment across Scotland.

So far, they’ve raised more than £4,000.  

Mark said: “We’re close to the £5,000 mark which is the equivalent of three defibrillators.

“It’s the least we can do, they saved my dad’s life.”

It was a lifechanging incident and Stevie still faces a long road to recovery, but he is already plotting his return to the game he loves.

He said: “I’m hoping, at least by the end of the season, to be back refereeing.

“I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I watched this game today.”

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