Dad of two collapsed after playing football and woke from coma days later

David Payne, centre, his wife Ally, second from left and critical care lead Ben Spashett, third from right <i>(Image: Secamb)</i>
David Payne, centre, his wife Ally, second from left and critical care lead Ben Spashett, third from right (Image: Secamb)

A father of two who collapsed after playing football woke from a coma in hospital days later.

David Payne was playing a match on January 24 this year with his team the Old Varndeanians Veterans when he started to feel pain.

The 56-year-old stepped off the pitch to rest  - and the next thing he knew he had woken from a coma at the Royal Sussex County Hospital four days later.

Unknown to him, David had walked to nearby Wilson Avenue and collapsed in cardiac arrest after experiencing a heart attack.

Umar Issacs, a gas engineer who runs a nearby gym, was passing and was the first person to find David laying on the floor.

Umar’s phone had run out of charge and so he flagged down a passing food delivery driver who stopped and let Umar use his mobile to call 999.

Caroline Batchelor, an off-duty Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) also stumbled upon David when she took a wrong turn and drove into the street where Umar was helping him.

Caroline started performing CPR on David until ambulance service colleagues arrived on scene minutes later.

Now David and his wife Ally, who live at Seven Dials, Brighton, have visited South East Coast Ambulance Service’s Make Ready Centre in Woollards Way, Moulsecoomb, where they were reunited with some of the team who helped save his life, including critical care paramedic Ben Spashett.

Because of the coma David has a five-week period of memory loss pre and post his collapse so the crew members were able to tell him more about what happened.

They even showed them some of the kit that was used on him at the scene, including the defibrillator.

Ben Spashett said: “In my 16 years of being a paramedic this is the first time I’ve met a survivor and it’s extremely rewarding. In David’s case, hand to chest time was key to saving his life and David was very lucky to have the off-duty PCSO nearby and our crews there within a matter of minutes.

“It’s fantastic to see that David has recovered so well and I’m looking forward to working with him and his football club to educate them on CPR.”

Ally said: “The crew have really changed the course of our lives. We have two teenagers at home and we ourselves have been together since we were teenagers so if things had been different that night it would have absolutely devastated our family.”

Soon, Ben will visit David’s football club to teach players how to perform CPR.

David said: “Following the amazing work that the crew did that evening, I am now a huge advocate for ensuring as many people know how to perform CPR as possible. I am very lucky to be here and that’s down to everyone who helped me that evening.”