Football coach’s life-saving thanks

Derek Bell, Paul Geddes, Kerri Corbett, Jack Beattie, Kevin Cook, Nicola Ballantyne, Alex Robbins and Stu Proctor with Simon Brown, wearing red.
Derek Bell, Paul Geddes, Kerri Corbett, Jack Beattie, Kevin Cook, Nicola Ballantyne, Alex Robbins and Stu Proctor with Simon Brown, wearing red.

A football coach who suffered a cardiac arrest during an under 18s training session has reunited with the ambulance crew, his colleagues and hospital staff to thank them for saving his life.

Simon Brown was coaching the North Shields Juniors AFC session at John Spence Community High School on December 14 when he suddenly collapsed.

His 18-year-old son, Ethan, ran over to his dad and shouted for help. Simon’s colleagues Stu Proctor and Paul Geddes rushed over to him whilst Derek Bell rang 999 – where he got through to North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) call operator Kerri Corbett.

With support from Kerri, Stu and Paul started CPR on Simon and Jessica Ross, who was working in the shop on the side of the pitch, rushed to collect the defibrillator from inside the school.

NEAS paramedics Kevin Cook and Jack Beattie were the first to arrive on scene. They took over CPR and shocked Kevin with a defibrillator four times and administered adrenaline before gaining a pulse.

Advanced technician Nicola Ballantyne and paramedic Alex Robbins then arrived and Simon was taken to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.

He was looked after by A&E staff before being taken to Ward 10, where he was cared for by Rachel Thompson and Alison Savage until he was transported to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle to have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator fitted.

The 53-year-old from North Shields said: “It has been especially important to me to be able to personally thank all who were involved in saving my life.

“From my colleagues, to the NEAS ambulance crews who brought me back and the outstanding care I was given at both hospitals, without them all working together, I wouldn’t be here today and I can’t thank them enough.”

Kevin, who joined NEAS five years ago and qualified as a paramedic in September last year, said: “Jack and I had just finished treating another patient when we received the call to attend a patient in cardiac arrest – we immediately responded as we weren’t far away from the school.

“It is without a doubt that Simon having CPR whilst we were on our way gave him the best possible chance of survival.

“Simon’s story just goes to show that this can happen anywhere and at any time. Being aware of CPR and what to do in this situation is invaluable and can potentially save someone’s life.”

Kerri, who has worked at NEAS for almost six years, said: “It’s been really great to see Simon again, as once we put the phone down we don’t often get to hear how the patient is doing.

“As a call handler, it was reassuring to know CPR was already happening as the crews were on their way to him, and hear how the instructions I gave to Stu and Paul really helped to save Simon’s life.”