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Daily journalist saves football commentator from choking to death at match

Leigh CurtisA regional daily football writer saved a fellow journalist from choking to death at a match after learning a lifesaving technique from a TV programme.

BBC Radio Nottingham’s Charlie Slater has described how the Nottingham Post’s Notts County reporter Leigh Curtis, pictured, saved his life ahead of the club’s match on Saturday, which they were both covering.

The pair were in the press room at County’s Meadow Lane stadium prior to their home game against Stevenage, when Charlie began to choke on a meal of rice and pork which had been provided for journalists.

Leigh had to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre, which he had seen on a recent TV show, in order to save Charlie.

Charlie, 29, told the Post: “It must have been some rice that got stuck. I tried to flush it down with some water, threw myself against a wall twice, but couldn’t breathe. The water wasn’t going down and everything was coming back up.

“I went back in the room and gestured to Leigh, who hit me three or four times on the back which didn’t seem to make any difference. My chest was drowning. Leigh then gave me the Heimlich manoeuvre and saved my life.”

Charlie, who went back on air just five minutes after his near death experience, revealed to the Post that his wife Corazon often worries about him eating his food “too quickly”.

He added: “If she goes away, she always tells me to ‘chew your food’ because me choking to death concerns her more than me being run over or anything else. I was stupid to force it down so quickly and there’s been plenty of ‘I told you so’ in the last few hours.

“Thank God [Leigh] was there, he didn’t panic and jumped to the rescue. He was a hero, I’m very grateful to him.”

Of the incident, Leigh said: “We were in the press room and I was preparing for the game while Charlie was eating his pork and rice. He got up and walked out of the room, and 30 seconds later he came barging back in with his eyes bulging, pointing at his back and choking.

“He couldn’t breathe let alone talk, so I got up and went behind him, squeezed him and hit him on the back, before giving him the Heimlich manoeuvre.

“It was really scary and then he just threw up all over the floor in the press room, but thankfully everything seemed to come out and he was okay.

“Choking is my worst nightmare and I’d seen a television programme about the Heimlich manoeuvre a few weeks ago so knew what to do. It was just surreal, the adrenaline was flowing and you just don’t think about it, you just deal with the situation.”

County went on to win the game 2-0.


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  • February 27, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Great work Leigh. Good to see a positive story on HTFP.

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  • February 27, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    The Heimlich manoeuvre must have saved countless lives over the years, but what’s additionally required in such emergencies is a cool head.

    Thankfully, Leigh was clearly the right guy in the right place at the right time…

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  • February 28, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Well done Leigh. I had the pleasure of working with Leigh on two newspapers and, as well as being a cracking journalist, he’s always been a solid and dependable bloke. If you were in bother you’d want him around and he’s proved that here.

    To the other fella – may I suggest some soy sauce for the rice next time?

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