Belfast Telegraph

I have no memory of Milk Cup collapse, says footballer Chris

By Brendan McDaid

A young footballer who collapsed during the Milk Cup international soccer tournament has spoken of his ordeal for the first time.

Chris McNeill (17) is now back at his desk starting his A-level year at Dalriada College in Ballymoney, where he is Head Boy.

The teenager said he has no recollection of the incident which caused shock across Northern Ireland.

The Portstewart lad collapsed just minutes into the cup tie between his Antrim county team and Armagh on July 25.

He was dramatically revived on the pitch by the father of one of his team-mates, Londonderry doctor Michael Healy.

A defibrillator was used to revive him before he was rushed to the local hospital in Coleraine. He was later transferred from there to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he underwent two major heart operations.

Speaking about his ordeal, he said: "The last thing I remember is just the line-up when they were going through the names and then there is just a blank until the Wednesday the following week."

Now back at home, doctors are monitoring Chris from afar through a novel device.

He said: "There's a monitor here that basically sends away readings from the heart and they will pick up on any abnormalities."

Chris has been told he will not be able to play contact sport for the foreseeable future, but he is enjoying being back at home and getting back into a routine.

"I went back to school last week," he said.

"The first week I was being treated like a bit of a celebrity but it has died down now. I'm getting back into it now."

HIs father Denis said the family were delighted to have him back.

He said: "We are happy enough with how he is. It has been a big, big adjustment, a big adaptation for him.

"I think that physical and emotional adjustment needs time and we are pushing on through that time."

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