Grant Cook pictured playing for Mulumbimby in Lismore. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Grant Cook pictured playing for Mulumbimby in Lismore. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

NSW Ambulance to investigate after league player's death

UPDATE 3.50pm: NSW Ambulance has confirmed the circumstances surrounding the death of Murwillumbah Mustangs player Grant Cook are the subject of an investigation.

Mullumbimby player Grant Cooke scores Mullumbimby's first try in the match gainst Cudgne at Les Donnelly field in Mullumbimby. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Mullumbimby player Grant Cooke scores Mullumbimby's first try in the match gainst Cudgne at Les Donnelly field in Mullumbimby. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

An Ambulance was tasked to Stan Sercombe Oval at 3:32pm to respond to the 28-year-old, reported as unconscious and fitting at Nullum St, Murwillumbah.
Based on the information provided by the caller the case was triaged as emergency 1C (lights and siren) with the nearest paramedic tasked to respond at 3:37pm arriving 20 minutes later.
The response was upgraded whilst the ambulance was en-route to the oval, the category was changed to 1A emergency (lights and siren) after the Triple Zero call-taker was "advised in a subsequent call that the patient had gone into cardiac arrest and a doctor had commenced CPR," a NSW Ambulance spokesman said.
The first Ambulance of three arrived on scene at 3:57pm with Mr Cook transported to Gold Coast University Hospital almost an hour-and-half later at 5:28pm in a critical condition.
NSW Ambulance confirmed earlier today the 20-minute wait was longer than expected.
"You would hope that when the patient is serious, it would take 10 to 12 minutes for the first resource to arrive," a NSW Ambulance spokesman told APN.
A Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter spokesman told APN aero-medical services were not dispatched to the scene by NSW Ambulance.
In 2013/14, 50% of the highest priority 1A, potentially life-threatening cases were responded to in 7.65 minutes in NSW.
NSW Ambulance extended its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Cook.

 

UPDATE 12pm: COUNTRY Rugby League have sent their condolences to the family and friends of 28-year-old Grant Cook who passed away whilst playing for The Murwillumbah Mustangs Rugby League Club yesterday.

"Country Rugby League will be offering counselling to the family and both teams who participated in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League match," a statement said.

"In respect for the family of Mr Cook, CRL will not be making any further comment at this time."

NSW Ambulance have confirmed paramedics were phoned for help at 3.32pm, with the first of three Ambulances arriving at Nullum Street fields at 3.57pm, with the 20 minute wait longer than standard.

"You would hope that when the patient is serious, it would take 10 to 12 minutes for the first resource to arrive," an Ambulance spokesman said.

Paramedics worked to revive Cook for about half an hour, and he was then transported to Gold Coast University Hospital where his condition deteriorated and passed away, surrounded by family and friends.

 

UPDATE 11.20am: TRIBUTES have poured in for much-loved local Grant Cook, remembered by his wife Colleen on Monday morning as a dedicated father.

"My beautiful husband Grant is now an angel watching over us. He has left a huge hole in my heart and I know all family, especially his parents, are hurting trying to understand this tragedy," she wrote.

"Although I have been in denial for hours at the hospital at what the head doctors, intensive care team and specialists were advising, I knew very early the outcome and am slowly accepting that I could not hold and kiss him forever and I had to at some point walk away from him and come home to look after our children, and be there for them when the questions come.

"And they will. And it already hurts an immense deal.

"Walking away down that hospital corridor was one of the hardest things I have ever done. And I'm surprised I made it out with how heavy my legs and heart and body felt.

"We loved him so much, and he loved us. And I guess this part is what hurts me the most. 

Colleen Cook posted a moving tribute to her husband Grant, alongside this photo of them with their children. Photo: Facebook/Colleen Cook
Colleen Cook posted a moving tribute to her husband Grant, alongside this photo of them with their children. Photo: Facebook/Colleen Cook Contributed

"Rest in peace Grant Geoffrey Cook.

"You achieved so much at such a tender age of 28.

"You died doing something you loved so passionately, and I guess that's how I have to look at it.

"I always did say I would love you forever and a day. And you know I will."

NRRL president Brian Rix said the league was closing ranks around the friends and family of owner of Tweed Growers Farm Fresh Fruit and Veg and Murwillumbah High alumni, providing counselling for the players.

"All the distressed players that were around there the league is organising some counselling this morning for the players that might require it and we're talking to the Casino players to make sure that they're all okay," he told ABC today.

"There was no indication there was anything serious on the sideline at that stage, except that he may have collapsed from exhaustion, they continued to play, and then the half-time break came it became more serious.

"We have no idea (if it was because of a tackle)."

 

UPDATE 10.55am: THE COMMUNITY is in mourning following the tragic death of Murwillumbah Mustangs player Grant Cook who died overnight at the Gold Coast University Hospital after collapsing during the preliminary finals of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Stan Sercombe oval on Sunday afternoon.

Just before half-time in the high octane A-Grade match against the Casino Cougars, Murwillumbah was leading the score board 8-4 heading towards its third consecutive finals clash when the 29-year-old came off the field "distressed", with just over a minute to half-time.

Tweed Shire councillor Barry Longland said spectators were overwhelmed with concern shortly after Cook collapsed in the sidelines, watching as the father-of-two received first-aid in the sidelines.

"I saw the (impact) and it didn't look dangerous - there was break away by Casino and the player that was injured took a hit to the head during the intercept.

"He came off the field on his own steam, then he collapsed and had a fit or seizure.

"People and Mustangs players were holding up sheets to protect his privacy while they were trying to revive him and they gave him CPR.

"It felt like an eternity by the time the ambulance arrived and they further gave him oxygen to sustain his breathing and it seemed to take a little while longer."

"When the Ambulance left it was announced that he was breathing by himself.

"It was traumatic for the crowd to be in the sidelines while the paramedics were working on this guy and the Mustangs were holding up the sheets around him.

"Everything was on edge until it was announced he was OK and on his way to hospital and he was breathing on his own."

 

UPDATE 10.30am: POLICE have confirmed they will prepare a report for the information of the coroner after the death of a man following a rugby league match at Murwillumbah yesterday.

Police said about 3:15pm on Sunday, police attended a sporting field on Nullum Street, Murwillumbah.

Upon arrival police from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command located a 28-year-old man who was unconscious.

Police have been informed that the man collapsed shortly after being tackled during the match.

Officials at the ground attempted to resuscitate the man until the arrival of Ambulance Paramedics.

The man was airlifted to Gold Coast University Hospital in a critical condition but passed away overnight.

Police from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command will prepare a report for the Coroner outlining all the circumstances leading up to the man's death.

 

INITIAL 7.45am: A MURWILLUMBAH Rugby League player has died in hospital overnight after receiving a head injury during a match yesterday.

Media outlets have reported that the 28-year-old Coolangatta father went into cardiac arrest during the A grade game against Casino yesterday, fell unconscious and died last night surrounded by loved ones.

Emergency services were called to the Nullum Street fields in Murwillumbah where paramedics worked on the man for about half an hour.

He was then transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

The Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League preliminary final was called off at half-time.

Murwillumbah had led 8-4.

The game has been postponed until Tuesday night, according to the Murwillumbah Mustangs' Facebook page.



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