1. ITV Report

Footballer whose heart stopped beating saved by off-duty firefighter on opposing team

A footballer whose heart stopped beating during a match had his life saved by an off-duty firefighter - playing for his opponents.

Retained firefighter Michael Gaunt, 25, sprang into action when his sporting rival collapsed onto the pitch and went into cardiac arrest.

Michael Gaunt Credit: West Sussex Fire & Rescue

Michael, a builder during the day, gave him CPR for an entire 25 minutes until paramedics arrived at the local league game in Crawley in West Sussex.

The Forest Row player will be handed a special commendation by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service for saving his Stones FC opponent's life.

Although we didn't immediately know what had happened as soon as I saw him I knew that he needed urgent assistance. That's when my fire service training kicked into action.

I checked his vital signs and knew he was experiencing respiratory failure and that his pulse was getting weaker.

Rapid treatment is critical to someone's survival chances, so while the 999 call was made I started administering CPR.

– Michael Gaunt

Michael, who became an on call firefighter in 2012, performed his heroics last Saturday afternoon before paramedics took the casualty hospital where he is steadily recovering.

We're extremely proud of Michael. It's clear that his calm and decisive actions made a vital life-saving difference before paramedics arrived at the scene.

– Gavin Watts, West Sussex's Assistant Chief Fire officer