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Football coach thanks quick thinking colleagues for saving his life

Simon Brown, seen in the red top, suffered a cardiac arrest

A football coach and devoted dad had his life saved by his colleagues after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

Simon Brown, a coach for North Shields Juniors Under 18s, was playing football alongside young players and two other coaches at John Spence Community High School when he suddenly collapsed onto the field.

His 18-year-old son Ethan, who was also playing, saw him fall and went over to him. He turned his dad around and realised something was wrong before calling over coaches Paul Geddes and Stuart Procter.

Paul and Stuart immediately began CPR, while the youngsters on the field were taken into the changing rooms.

The two coaches carried on resuscitation until an ambulance arrived.

Simon Brown, a coach for North Shields Juniors Under 18s

Paramedics Kevin Cook and Jack Beattie then took over and continued with the CPR before Simon was taken to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington . He was looked after in A&E and later ward 10, before being transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Simon spent a total of 10 days in hospital and was released after a defibrillator was fitted in his chest.

Now the 53-year-old, of North Shields, has got the chance to thank everyone who helped to save him.

We were just having a friendly game between the Under 17s and Under 18s. Me, Stuart and Paul also joined in.

I started getting out of breath, got a bit light headed and collapsed. I only came round in the ambulance.

But what everyone else did for me that day was amazing. They are all heroes and I can’t thank them enough.”

– Simon Brown, North Shields Juniors Coach

Paramedics say Paul and Stuart’s actions helped to save Simon’s life.

Stuart, 43, the Under 17s coach, of Wallsend, said:

We saw Simon on the floor and his son was shouting. We sprinted across.

We have first-aid training so we started giving CPR straight away and we just kept going.

We thought we had lost Simon - he was all blue and wasn’t breathing. But then his arm moved and he started breathing again, although it was laboured.

We just knew we had to keep going. I don’t know where that extra energy came from.”

– Stuart Procter, North Shields U17s Coach

Paul, 43, who coaches the Under 18s team, said:

When Simon was taken to hospital and we were told he would be all right, we just felt so relieved.

We are so glad he is ok now.”

– Paul Geddes, North Shields U18s Coach

Mr Cook, from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), said the men’s actions on December 14 show how important CPR is.

He added:

When we arrived on the pitch, Paul and Stuart were taking turns giving CPR.

We then took over. Simon was breathing but he did not have a pulse. He was in cardiac arrest and we carried on with CPR before taking him to hospital.

Those first few minutes after he collapsed were vital and that’s when Paul and Stuart did a great job. They 100% saved his life.”

– Kevin Cook, NEAS
Simon Brown

Simon, a coach of 14 years, has also praised all the NHS staff who helped him as well as Jess Ross, who runs a refreshments stall at the football ground.

He said:

When I collapsed, all the children were in shock and didn’t know what was going on. Jess took everyone into the changing rooms and reassured them while Stuart, Paul and the paramedics were helping me. She also brought over a defibrillator that was on site. She was unbelievable.

The paramedics were absolutely brilliant, not just on the pitch but in the ambulance as well. When I came round, they helped to reassure me and my wife and looked after me so well.

The staff at A&E and Ward 10 at Cramlington were also superb, as were the staff at Ward 24 at the Freeman who cared for me and got me home to my family in time for Christmas.

All the NHS staff did a great job, despite the lack of funding and resources, and all the pressures they have been under.

And of course Paul and Simon will always be heroes to me. I want to say thank you to every single person for saving my life that day.”

– Simon Brown, North Shields Juniors Coach