Sunday League takes action after two footballers suffer heart attacks in four days

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The Milton Keynes Sunday League will pay for clubs to attend first aid training classes after two players in their early 30s suffered heart attacks during football matches in the space of just four days.

Last week the Citizen reported that a 31-year-old man was recovering in hospital after collapsing at a game last Sunday, and the following Wednesday night another man, aged 30, also suffered a heart attack during a match.

In the latest incident the man is thought to have stopped breathing after collapsing on the pitch during the game. His team-mates attempted to perform CPR and he was eventually resuscitated by paramedics.

Before the first man collapsed at a pre-season friendly game last Sunday, it had been more than 30 years since a player had suffered a heart attack at a Sunday League game in Milton Keynes.

And the events of the last week have prompted league chairman Ron James to pay around £700 for one person from all 31 teams to attend a first aid course in mid-September, a couple of weeks into the new season.

“We want to help save people’s lives,” said Mr James, who has been involved with the city’s Sunday League for around 40 years.

“The last week has been shocking and we want to give clubs a chance to learn first aid in case anyone falls ill again. It is in their interest and I’m sure they will all take up the offer.

“Playing football, you expect to see the occasional injury and people have suffered broken legs. But this was just really shocking to everyone. I hope it doesn’t put people off playing, but to be honest, I wouldn’t blame anyone if they stopped.”

The first man to be taken ill was rushed to hospital by a quick-thinking father of another player who saw him looking poorly and he is now recovering well. The condition of the second man is not known.

“It’s out of the ordinary and you don’t expect it to happen,” added Mr James. “The cost is irrelevant, we just want to help clubs save lives if they are unlucky enough to be in this position. Hopefully the two lads make a speedy recovery. I wish them both well.”