Bok saves man's life after Test
Stephen Nell and JJ Harmse
Pretoria – Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis saved a man’s life at Newlands on Saturday night shortly after helping his side to their biggest Test win yet over France on South African soil.
Du Plessis had to push a finger “right into the man’s vocal chords” to remove a piece of meat he had choked on. The man could not breathe and was already blue around the lips when Du Plessis intervened.
“With mercy from above the man could breathe again,” said Du Plessis, who is a qualified doctor.
“We walked out of the post-match function because we were told to head for the bus. I was looking for the bathroom when I saw a concerned lady asking her husband if everything was alright. When I was about two steps past them, she started shouting ‘My husband is choking, my husband is choking!’ She was panicking.
“I could see the man could not utter a word or breathe. I used the Heimlich Manoeuvre.
“I could see the guy was in trouble. He was getting blue around the lips and was completely pale. I then told him it’s worse than I thought and I will have to scratch the piece of meat out.
“I told him to open his mouth and stuck in a finger until about his vocal chords. A piece of meat was stuck at around his adam’s apple. I got my finger at the back of it and swept it out.”
Du Plessis was very relieved when the man, whose identity is unknown, could breathe comfortably again.
“I’m not a pastor, but all thanks to God. The man just about burst into tears,” said Du Plessis.
Du Plessis was emotional himself and said the incident placed rugby in perspective.
“It could have been ugly had things gone wrong. It makes you think a little deeper than just another rugby victory,” he said.
“When we were on our way back to the hotel on the team bus, I thought to myself that I would spend a few more minutes on my knees because life can be over in the blink of an eye.
“That guy just ate a piece of meat off a stick after watching the Test – everything was wonderful and then he choked.
“I got a huge fright, but I am just grateful he’s alive.”