The father of Brock Riddoch, 12, has warned other asthma sufferers to take every precaution after their son nearly died from an attack.
The Year 7 student, from Bendigo, was enjoying a school camp in Benloch, in the state’s north-west, on March 2 when the camping trip turned into every parent’s worst nightmare.
Craig Riddoch told 9news.com.au Brock first felt some tightness in his chest, so he went to take his Ventolin inside his tent.
When the Ventolin did not help, he began to panic and sought help from his teachers.
Concerned about his condition, Brock spoke to his father on the phone before he collapsed to the ground.
“He just said, ‘I can’t do it dad’,” Mr Riddoch said.
“He passed out, he became unresponsive on the ground. From then, they worked on him for 32.5 minutes. He was gone for.
“In that time his mum and myself drove to the scene, and the ambulance and helicopters were there.
“Once we pulled in they just got a pulse back.”
Brock suffered brain damage due to being unresponsive for more than half an hour.
But by some miracle, paramedics were able to revive him, although the 12-year-old now has a long road to recovery ahead.
Brock was in an induced coma for a number of days in the intensive care unit of the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Doctors have told the Riddoch family Brock will have to make the hospital home for at least the next six months.
Mr Riddoch said the whole experience had been like a “time warp” of agony, but he has not left his son’s bedside.
“We are still quite numb about it,” he said.
“It’s just a nightmare. It really feels just like yesterday. The time goes very slow, but the days go very fast.
“I haven’t been home since it happened. He gets anxious if you leave him.”
In Australia, there were 38,792 hospitalisations where asthma was the main diagnosis in the year 2017-18.
Almost half of these were for children aged under 14 years.
Research shows children under 15 are more likely to be hospitalised with asthma than those aged 15 and over.
The staff at the hospital, along with Brock’s school Catherine McAuley College, have been “amazing” in their support, Mr Riddoch said.
The family are holding onto hope Brock may one day be able to make a full recovery.
“He can’t move his arms, can’t move his legs, he can’t do anything himself,” he said.
“Every day it’s small steps and we have to try and let the brain heal itself.
“It’s a long road ahead. We just don’t know what the future is going to hold.
“We want to give him the best possible chance he can get.”
Brock has suffered minor asthma attacks before, but nowhere near this severity.
Mr Riddoch warned other asthma-sufferers to not treat their condition lightly, as the asthma attack, combined with his anxiety, had led to Brock’s collapse.
Before the asthma attack, Brock was a bright and active 12-year-old, who loved footy and rugby.
“He’s loved by everyone, every person that has met him just absolutely loves him,” Mr Riddoch said.
An online fundraiser has raised more than $61,000 in donations to fund the rehabilitation of Brock.
“We are optimistic that he will improve each through extensive rehabilitation and therapy,” his aunt Sharelle said.
“He is already responding well and each hour we are seeing improvements.”