Fighting fit for ‘second chance of life’

Ryan Zon and mum Tracey looking forward to the New Year
Ryan Zon and mum Tracey looking forward to the New Year

A lucky-to-be-alive footballer revived after a heart attack during a game vowed today to make the most of his second chance at life – by getting youngsters involved in sport.

Ryan Zon, aged 20, was brought back from the brink of death by medics he was playing after collapsing on the pitch.

The determined football fanatic, battling back to fitness at his south Yorkshire home, today said his New Year wish was to get back involved in the game he loves.

Ryan, who stopped breathing during a game for Swallownest Miners Welfare Reserves in April, plans to get into coaching in the New Year.

He suffered a cardiac arrest and only survived because he was playing against a team of doctors and trainee medics who gave him life-saving CPR on the pitch when he slumped to the ground.

Two other doctors playing rugby on a neighbouring field also helped in the battle to revive him before he was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

Ryan, of Laycock Avenue, Aston, near Sheffield, said today: “I feel OK, I feel well and I still feel very lucky to be here.

“My plan for the new year is to try to get fit again and to get involved with getting more kids into sport.

“I always loved football and played from when I was four – maybe younger – so if I can get involved in the coaching side I would enjoy that.

“I played all over when I was younger – Rotherham, Sheffield United – and always loved it but after what happened to me they said I would never play again, but I would still like to be involved somehow, so coaching seems a good thing to do.”

His mum Tracey Zon, 48, said: “I am glad to see the end of 2013 and the start of a new year, where we will hopefully have more luck.

“I am just thankful and grateful that Ryan is still here with us after what happened.”

Ryan was playing a game against Sheffield Medics FC on Warminster Road, Norton, Sheffield, when he fell ill – harrowingly similar to Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba who collapsed during a televised FA Cup match the year before.

Ryan’s family have organised a charity football match to help raise money for a defibrillator for his local football club and a charity Motown night is planned on April 26 – the day before the 12-month anniversary of his collapse. Money will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.