Melton football ref who survived cardiac arrest would like defibrillators at all football clubs

Football referee Brian Gordon relaxes at home with some admin work for Melton Toy Soldiers Band as he recovers from the cardiac arrest he sustained in May EMN-171114-173638001
Football referee Brian Gordon relaxes at home with some admin work for Melton Toy Soldiers Band as he recovers from the cardiac arrest he sustained in May EMN-171114-173638001
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A football referee who almost died after collapsing during a cup final believes life-saving defibrillators should be available at all adult matches.

Brian Gordon remembers nothing after suffering a cardiac arrest during the game in Asfordby back in May.

Referee Brian Gordon pictured during the Melton Sunday League Knockout Cup final shortly before he suffered a cardiac arrest EMN-171114-120326001

Referee Brian Gordon pictured during the Melton Sunday League Knockout Cup final shortly before he suffered a cardiac arrest EMN-171114-120326001

He was told later, though, that his heart had stopped for eight minutes.

It was only the quick-thinking actions of one of the players, a nurse, an emergency doctor and the availability of a defibrillator which saved his life.

“What those three people did for me was absolutely brilliant,” said Brian (72), who lives in Melton.

“It would be nice if there were defibrillators at all football matches but that isn’t the case - some clubs don’t even have anywhere to change.

“They cost around £1,200 each so that is a problem.

“They are expensive but if they save lives they have to be worth it.”

Brian has been a referee for 32 years and never had health problems during matches until that distressing day.

After 23 minutes of the Melton Sunday League Knockout Cup final between Avin A Laff United and Hamilton, play suddenly stopped after Brian dropped to the ground.

He said: “The first person who helped was apparently a footballer who was skilled in CPR. Then a nurse who works at the club came to help and then a first responder with a defibrillator.”

The latter was Dr Matt Woods of the East Midlands Immediate Care Scheme (EMICS), who put Brian into an induced coma before he was taken to Glenfield Hospital by road ambulance.

Brian had a pacemaker and a stent fitted in hospital.

He said: “It was a blood clot which caused it.

“I was dead lucky that I was doing something energetic at the time.

“My body was full of oxygen because of the exercise.

“In a way, refereeing saved my life.”

Brian, a leading light in the Melton Toy Soldiers Band, celebrated his golden wedding with wife Sheila this year but he has no plans to take it easy.

He keeps fit with regular swimming and workouts and is keen to return to refereeing in the near future, building up up from ‘walking football’ and veterans’ games.

“I’m missing it like crazy,” he said.

“I just have to convince my wife and daughter that it will be safe for me to do it again.”

Work colleagues of Brian’s daughter, Keely Harrison, at the NFU Mutual agency in Melton held a fundraising event for EMICS and made just under £300 at the recent East Midlands Food Festival.

Leanne Parker, of the agency, said: “Without Dr Woods’ assistance, it could have been a very different outcome for Keely’s dad. We decided we would like to raise awareness of the charity and do some fundraising on their behalf.”