A young footballer who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game in Sheffield said an emotional thank you to the paramedics who helped save his life – a year to the day he almost died.
Ryan Zon, aged 20, was playing for Swallownest Miners’ Welfare reserves when he collapsed in a game against Sheffield Medics – a team of doctors and trainees – at Warminster Road, Norton.
The medics began resuscitation to try to restart his heart until paramedics arrived at the scene and took over the fight to save Ryan’s life.
Ryan, from Aston, had never met the heroes who saved his life until he invited them to a fundraising event his family organised for the British Heart Foundation, where he thanked them for saving his life.
The event – a Motown night which raised more than £1,300 – was held on the same day that 12 members of the Swallownest community received training on how to use a defibrillator which Ryan’s family had helped raise money towards earlier in the year.
And Ryan is now urging every football club and sports organisation across South Yorkshire to invest in the medical devices, which can restart hearts.
He said: “Every football club and organisation connected to sport needs to have one of these – I was as fit as could be when I had my cardiac arrest. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.
“If one good thing can come from what happened to me, it is that we raise awareness around the importance of clubs having important first-aid equipment like this.
“I was lucky that I was playing against trainee doctors and that Yorkshire Ambulance Service arrived so quickly and got me to hospital – others may not be so lucky, but if there are more defibrillators at sports grounds they could help save lives.”
Ryan, who cannot remember playing football on the day he collapsed, said he was pleased to have met the paramedics who helped revive him.
He said: “I had no idea who they were or what they had to do, so I wanted to thank them for everything.
“I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve for all the lives they save.”
Advanced emergency medical technician Paul Feeney said: “It’s brilliant to meet Ryan again. It’s not very often that we find out what has happened to patients.
“Two weeks before Ryan’s collapse we were called to another young footballer in the Hillsborough area who suffered the same thing, so it just proves it can happen to anyone.”
Tracy Zon, Ryan’s mum, aged 48, said: “It has been a rollercoaster of a year – I can’t believe that this time last year we were sitting with Ryan wondering if he was going to survive.
“We are really proud to have helped raise the money for a defibrillator after what happened to Ryan.
“Every other football club needs to put pressure on the FA now to ensure there are more of these to help more people.”