I died 28 minutes after suffering a heart attack during a game – what I saw on the other side was incredible

A FITNESS coach who died 28 minutes after suffering a heart attack during a basketball game has opened up about his remarkable ‘out of body’ experience.

Phill Zdybel, 57, said he felt like he was looking down on his own body as an off-duty nurse desperately tried to revive him.

Phill Zdybel, 57, said he felt like he was looking down on his own body


Phill Zdybel, 57, said he felt like he was looking down on his own bodyPhoto credits: Facebook/phillip zdybel
Phil's son Joshua (left) called the paramedics after his father collapsed


Phil’s son Joshua (left) called the paramedics after his father collapsedPhoto credits: Facebook/phillip zdybel

The taekwondo instructor collapsed during the game in November last year from a coronary artery aneurysm that prompted full-blown cardiac arrest.

His son Joshua watched and called the paramedics while an off-duty nurse began CPR and others found a defibrillator nearby.

Phill was taken to hospital, where he woke up days later – and was told by medics he had been dead for 28 minutes.

He described the experience as “out of body” and said he felt like he was floating above his body on the court in Geelong, Australia.

“I would say I was a bit out of body,” he told the Geelong Advertiser.

Phill also said he’s grateful it happened while he was with so many people and not alone.

He said that if it had happened at any other time, “no one would have found me”.

“I’m a miracle person,” he said.

He believes his fitness and attitude were key to his survival.

And Phill said the experience changed his perspective on life.

“All the little things we worry about aren’t worth worrying about,” he said.

“Don’t let anyone tell you there’s nothing you can do. I didn’t want to go anywhere.”

Phill was discharged from Geelong Hospital after a week, where he had a stent placed.

The father has now become an advocate for CPR training and has called for more defibrillators to be available to the public.

“Everyone needs to do CPR, and all exercise facilities and the like in the workplace should have defibrillators on hand,” he said.

Unless the heart is kept going with resuscitation or restarted with a defibrillator—which can be found in public places—patients can die in minutes.

Only one in ten people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

It comes after another father, who died 18 minutes when his heart stopped, said he owes his life to his children.

Stuart Waters, 48, suffered cardiac arrest while driving his children home from soccer practice.

Suddenly he felt ill and stopped responding.

His children were the only ones there who took action and ran to get help.

Stuart said: “The police officer there at the time said there was a one in ten chance of surviving in that situation, but luckily I was the one.

“It’s never something you want to show your kids but it’s a very proud moment – obviously for the wrong reasons – but I’m so proud of them and couldn’t ask for better kids.

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“At the end of the day, they helped save my life, so I owe them a lot.”


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@dailynationtoday.com.

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