Sheffield heart attack teen revived on pitch

Blade: Ryan Zon, pictured second left, with friends.
Blade: Ryan Zon, pictured second left, with friends.

A teenage footballer suffered a massive heart attack on the pitch in Sheffield - and was brought back to life by the team of medics he was playing against.

Ryan Zon, aged 19, collapsed like professional Fabrice Muamba in the middle of a game, in front of horrified team mates and spectators.

But the opposition players were a team of doctors and trainee medics - who, along with two other doctors who happened to be nearby, gave him CPR until an ambulance arrived.

Today Sheffield United fan Ryan is recovering on the coronary care ward at the Northern General Hospital.

And his mum Tracey, 47, told The Star she owed ‘everything’ to the footballing medics who battled to revive her son.

“Talk about being in the right place at the right time - Ryan will never be as lucky again,” she said.

“Ryan died for 10 minutes, but the medics he was playing against - as well as two doctors playing rugby on a nearby pitch - revived him and saved his life.

“We can’t thank them enough. Ryan has asked what would have happened if they’d not been there and I’ve told him we would have been burying him. It’s unbelievable to think how close we were to losing him.”

Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during a televised FA Cup match in March last year. He was helped on the pitch by a consultant cardiologist who was at the game as a fan, and has recovered despite his heart stopping for 78 minutes.

Ryan, from Aston, is a winger for Swallownest Miners Welfare Reserves, and was playing against Sheffield Medics FC at Warminster Road, Norton, last weekend.

His team manager Dixie Nightingale, 52, said: “People saw it live on TV when Fabrice Muamba had a heart attack - and to see it happen in front of your own eyes to one of your own players was shocking.

“All the lads on the pitch were affected by it.

“We had just treated a goalkeeper who had cut his head when he started pointing behind us at Ryan on the ground.

“We ran over to him and thought he was having a seizure, but the team we were playing were medical students and doctors and recognised it was a heart attack and started giving CPR.

“Another two qualified doctors were playing rugby on a neighbouring pitch, and they ran over, and they all took it in turns to work on him.

“We are all qualified first aiders but to have professionals there was so reassuring, and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped him.

“This will hit Ryan hard as he is such as sporty kid - a keep-fit fanatic - so nobody can believe what has happened to him.

“I have been to see the local FA about it and to ask them to push for it to be compulsory for all clubs to have defibrillators, because this sort of thing seems to be happening more and more.”

Mum Tracey is also calling for all football clubs to have defibrillators as part of their first aid kits.

“No matter what it costs, every club should be forced to have one on site,” she said.

“We had the medics fighting to save Ryan but not everyone will be as lucky, and a defibrillator can be the difference between life and death.”

She said her son had always been fit and healthy.

“He could have played football or cricket professionally, but he will never kick a ball again,” she said.

“I know he will struggle with that, but we just have to be thankful he is still alive.

“To think he was coaching disabled children with Rotherham United last summer - to see him in intensive care now is unbelievable.”

Iain Ruddick, secretary of Sheffield Medics FC, said: “Everyone in the club is delighted there was a happy ending to this.

“Everyone knows what happened to Fabrice Muamba and this was the same thing - our players went into doctor mode and did the CPR they were taught from day one at medical school.”

Roger Reade, Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA’S General Secretary, said: “We are so pleased to hear Ryan is doing well, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

“We would also like to recognise the efforts made by Sheffield Medics who thankfully had the skills and knowledge required to help save Ryan’s life.

“We have been working very hard in memory of the late referee Roger Evans, along with the British Heart Foundation and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, to secure funding to buy defibrillators to be installed at sites throughout our area.

“We will continue to work as hard as possible to arrange for these lifesaving devices to be installed at more venues, and to help to save lives at clubs in our area.”