A HERO footballer saved the life of an opposition player who collapsed and stopped breathing on the pitch during a match.
Northern General Hospital worker Jim Heppenstall, aged 38, was playing for Totley against Brampton in the Premiership division of the Hope Valley League at his team’s home ground on Lamont Road, when a member of the opposition complained of feeling unwell.
The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, started walking from the pitch in the 35th minute when he collapsed. Seconds later he was in convulsions, had stopped breathing and turned blue.
Totley’s manager Mark Daniel, who witnessed centre half Jim’s dramatic intervention, said: “Jim was probably one of the furthest away but was first to offer first aid.
“He was able to restrain the lad and lay him down but it was soon clear it was more serious as the player’s face then turned blue and he apparently swallowed his tongue.
“We all thought he had died.
“But Jim managed to open his mouth and pull his tongue clear and, using a resuscitation technique, managed to start him breathing again.”
Mr Daniel added: “We estimate that it was at least a minute of Jim’s efforts to get him back breathing and undoubtedly saved his life.
“Jim is the sort of guy to just shrug this off as something anyone would do, but I doubt I will never forget what I witnessed and neither will any of the Brampton player’s team-mates.”
Jim, 38, from Bradway, who works as superintendent radiographer at the Northern General Hospital, said it was something he thought he would ever have to do.
“I am trained in first aid as well as how to administer intermediate and life support but I never thought I’d have to use the techniques I have learned on my day off.
“I could see the lad was fitting and there was nothing anyone could do until he had stopped.
“He was laid on his back and had turned blue so I put him in the recovery position and waited for the convulsions to stop.
“As soon as they did, I reached in his mouth and pulled his tongue to one side to allow him to breathe.”
Paramedics were called and provided treatment at the scene but the player involved decided not to go to hospital. He has since made a full recovery.
Jim added that the ‘worst thing’ about it for him was that the game had to be abandoned.
“We were winning 2-1 and playing really well.
“And it was the first time we had been winning this season.
“But seriously the game was the last thing I was thinking about at the time.”