Making the ultimate save

Donny Brinklow, the recipient of a 2015 heart transplant, speaks at BGH on Friday to raise awareness for organ donation. Shown here on Friday, April 7, 2017 in Brockville, Ont. Sabrina Bedford/Brockville Recorder and Times/Postmedia Network
Donny Brinklow didn't always like beer and chicken wings.

It wasn't until after his heart transplant in 2015 that he suddenly got the urge to go to the pub, but at the time, he didn't understand why.

On September 27, 2014, Brinklow was playing goalie in a pickup hockey league near his home in Tyendinaga Township just east of Belleville. He wasn't feeling well all day, but he couldn't put his finger on exactly what was wrong.

Not even 15 minutes into the game, he reached out and made a "TSN-style" save in net - something he doesn't remember - but he was actually having a heart attack and collapsed.

"They thought I hurt my knee. But I felt a twinge in my chest," Brinklow, now 56, said on Friday at Brockville General Hospital during an organ donation awareness event.

"I don't remember, but my fellow hockey player said he heard my 'death breath'."

He said he was lucky enough to be playing on - and against - a team of firefighters who all knew CPR, and because the hockey rink was equipped with a defibrillator, it bought him enough time for help to arrive and take him to the hospital in nearby Napanee. Continue reading
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