Manager describes 'scary' moments after player collapse

Paul Murray of Wisbech Town's walking football team collapsed midway through a match

Paul Murray was playing in a friendly for Wisbech Town's walking football team before he collapsed midway through the game. - Credit: Wisbech Town Walking Football Club

A walking football manager has described the “scary” moment one of his players collapsed midway through a match. 

Paul Murray was playing for Wisbech Town’s walking football team in a friendly against South Lincs Steelers yesterday (Sunday) before collapsing on the pitch at Fountain Fresh Park. 

“While trying to bring Paul round, he stopped breathing and we lost his pulse,” manager Jonny Pearce said. 

After Paul collapsed, teammate Steve Wyness ran to collect the club’s defibrillator before Jonny used the machine while Wisbech player Steve Smith, who works in A&E, administered first aid. 

“Paul again went all limp and with the use of the defibrillator, we managed to bring him round in time for the emergency services to attend,” Jonny said. 

“It was really scary and the way the players reacted and their quick reactions certainly saved Paul’s life.” 

Jonny Pearce Wisbech Town walking football manager

Wisbech Town walking football manager Jonny Pearce helped revive Paul by using a defibrillator at the club, before the player was taken to hospital. - Credit: Supplied

The club was gifted a defibrillator by an anonymous donor around five years ago, and until the weekend, had never been used. 

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Wisbech Town FC secretary Spencer Larham, who lives in a property at the club’s ground, said he was unaware what was happening until emergency services had arrived. 

“I was oblivious to this happening until the ambulance went past my window!” Spencer said.  

“There was a brief fly-by from the air ambulance, but it returned to base without landing.  

“There were four vehicles here with paramedic staff. The last to arrive was the actual ambulance and Paul went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.” 

Paul, 56, was seen to be laughing and speaking to people after the collapse and is recovering well.

The incident raises the topic of how important defibrillators are, something that Jonny believes all clubs should try and get. 

“I cannot stress enough how important defibrillator machines are,” he said.  

“If your club hasn’t got one then get the money together and buy one, you will never know when you're going to need it.  

“Myself and everyone at the club would like to wish Paul a speedy and safe recovery.” 

Spencer, who thinks the club defibrillator cost around £1,300 had it not been donated, believes other organisations and venues outside of sport should also have a machine

He added: “It’s vital that there are as many defibs as possible in as many settings as possible as they are proven to save lives.” 

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