A rugby player who collapsed and ‘died’ for 22 minutes during a match was brought back to life – by an opponent who is training to be a doctor.
Medical student Luke McLennan, 22, came to the rescue when opposing prop forward Adam Wyatt, 51, slumped to the ground during a line-out.
The fifth year medical student put his training into practice and calmly kept Adam alive with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived.
Father-of-two Adam’s heart was eventually re-started with a defibrillator on the fourth attempt – 22 minutes after he collapsed unconscious.
The consultant paediatric nurse spent more than a month in hospital and has now been re-united with his saviour.
Modest Luke, who is studying medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, Devon, said: “It happened very quickly, I have never seen anything like this on a pitch before.
“Any student in my position with my knowledge would have done the same thing – it was more luck than management, to be honest.
“He was dead for 22 minutes, and if you look at the statistics, not many people will survive that so it is pretty amazing.”
Grateful Adam, who has no memory of the incident, is so shocked by his brush with death that he has decided to hang up his playing boots.
He said: “The heart attack was completely out of the blue, I have never had any problems with my health or my heart before.
“I am so thankful for Luke for what he has done for me and my family, massively thankful, I really can’t thank him enough.
“To be dead for 22 minutes is a bit scary, it just puts everything into perspective of what I could have lost, I have finally now decided to hang up my boots and retire.”
The incident happened on January 27 as Adam played for home team Paignton RFU’s veteran team against Withycombe RFU from nearby Exmouth.
Luke, of Exeter, was playing in his debut game for Withycombe and came on a substitute full back after 20 minutes.
He explained: “I had been on the pitch for around five or ten minutes and the game had been going on for around 20 minutes.
“There was a line-out and then all of a sudden some of the guys were suddenly standing around Andy shouting for people to call an ambulance.
“I walked over and they were putting him in the recovery position which I didn’t feel was adequate so I asked if they were medical and they weren’t so I decided to take charge.
“I felt for a pulse and couldn’t find one so I put him on his back and began CPR, I probably did that for around 15 minutes before the ambulance arrived.
“I carried on while they did what they had to do and they administered shocks, it was on the fourth one that his heart was started again and then a few hours later I got a text to say he was okay.”
Adam, who lives near Bovey Tracey and works at Langdon Hospital near Exmouth, was rushed to Torbay Hospital where he spent a month recovering.
He said: “I can’t remember a thing from that day, not even going to the match.
“I woke up in hospital and stayed in there for about a month, I was pretty confused when I woke up but was filled in about what happened and that the match was abandoned.
“The period of time is just a blur to be honest, I asked my friend where I was and I was told I had a heart attack, so I had to take that in.
“My family weren’t at the match luckily, but someone from the club gave my wife a call to let her know what had happened, she was pretty shocked.”
The pair were yesterday re-united at Paignton’s Queens Park ground where the incident happened.
Adam’s wife Camilla, 55, said: “We are both so thankful for Luke for what he did, every single day I think about what could have happened, he saved my husband’s life.
“It is so lucky that he is a medical student and knew what he was doing, he told me that his eyes were rolling into the back of his head and he knew that something was wrong.
“On the morning before the match he was fine, there were no signs that this was going to happen, just normal, I think that is why it was such a shock.”