Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone GAA star hits out at vandals who destroyed defibrillator after his dad's life is saved during match

By Donna Deeney

A man whose life was saved after he collapsed at a GAA match just a week ago has paid tribute to those who kept him alive - including his son.

Sean Gormley (62) was watching a game between Co Tyrone teams Ardboe and Carrickmore when he became unwell and collapsed moments later.

Thanks to two nurses at the match and the presence of a defibrillator at the Ardboe grounds, Mr Gormley received immediate first aid before he was rushed to Craigavon Hospital.

What Mr Gormley didn't know was that as the nurses performed CPR it was his own son Conor, who was playing in the game, who used the defibrillator on him. Conor was just making his way back on to the pitch for the second half when he was alerted to his father's collapse in the stands.

Speaking to the Ulster Herald, Sean thanked everyone who kept him alive.

He said: "It was emotional when the nurses who saved me came to the hospital.

"I'll never be able to fully thank them enough but I want to tell them how grateful I am for what they did.

"Something like this shows how fragile life can be. One moment I was standing talking about football and the next there were people battling to save my life with a machine.

"It can't have been easy for Conor to do what he did as well. Between them all, they acted so quickly to get me the attention and help I needed. All I remember is talking about football and the next thing I got a weak feeling and heart palpitations and felt dizzy.

"After that I must have fallen over. The whole thing happened so quickly.

"The next thing I recall is waking up and seeing all the people standing around.

He added: "The ambulance people and staff at Craigavon Hospital were surprised at my recovery within a fairly short space of time.

"Thankfully, there's no lasting damage done to my heart."

Mr Gormley's son Conor - who is a three-time All-Ireland winner - credited his father's remarkable recovery to his level of general fitness and the speed at which he received medical intervention.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, former Tyrone GAA player Conor also voiced his anger at those responsible for the theft and destruction of a defibrillator from Carrick Rangers FC.

His former team-mate, Cormac McAnallen, died suddenly aged 24 in 2004, and a trust set up in his memory aims to install heart defibrillators in all sports clubs.

Conor said: "We are so thankful that there was a defibrillator at the grounds and that it was working and we were able to use it.

"When you see what happened at the grounds of Carrick Rangers soccer team, where somebody vandalised their defibrillator and threw it in the river, it makes you angry. It is crazy that someone would do that when it could cost someone their life and cost a family the loss of a loved one."

Belfast Telegraph

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