A COWDENBEATH man woke up in an ambulance after suffering a “life-changing” cardiac arrest while playing walking football.

Kevin Campbell (pictured), 51, fell to the ground during the session at Pitreavie and it was only quick-thinking from fellow players which saved his life.

Quick to spring into action, his fellow players began CPR, with Ruth Kellas from the Pitreavie Sports Centre cafe running down with their defibrillator, which was donated by Fife Soccer Sevens Development Association in 2016, to help.

“I finished work, got changed, we’d just kicked off and the next thing I knew I was waking up in an ambulance wondering what had happened,” Kevin told the Times.

“I suffered a heart attack earlier in the year but they think that was to do with COVID.

“I have AF (Artirial fibrillation), which means I have an irregular heart beat, and I’ve had an ICD (Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) fitted, but hopefully I will never need it.”

The condition causes a common abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia which causes your heart to beat abnormally, while the device detects any life-threatening, rapid heartbeat and quickly sends an electrical shock to the heart to change the rhythm back to normal like a defibrillator would.

While a heart attack occurs due to a blockage in one of the arteries, a cardiac arrest is the result of abnormal heart rhythm.

The incident has resulted in a portable defibrillator being bought for the team.

Kevin says the experience on August 3 has been “life-changing”, as he now has to think about things he would never have before, like how close he gets to microwaves, or which pocket he places his phone in due to his ICD.

He has even been forced to give up his work as a prison officer in Perth while he recovers, after being told that he can’t lift his arms or do any strenuous task.

“I am more than thankful for everyone, they saved my life,” he continued.

“I am not unfit, I play golf, I play walking football, I was in the army reserves until January and in the army for 23 years.”

His wife, Louise Campbell, 55, had even taken time to care for him after the arrest, having to help him shower in the days which followed.

Now, 17 members of his team have been fully trained in life-saving techniques, such as CPR and using a defibrillator.

Bobby Thornton, who runs the squad, had emailed the service by chance to organise sessions on the morning of Kevin’s cardiac arrest, though the initiative became even more essential afterwards and was quickly organised for August 23.

“I phoned the ambulance and one of the players ran to the cafe at Pitreavie Soccer Centre for the defib, others were doing CPR,” Bobby explained.

“We have a retired doctor, Dr Colin Firth, who practised in Rosyth, on the team, he held his head and the girls brought the defib, by the time the ambulance got there he was awake and speaking, he was apologising!

“In 40 years working as a Bingo hall manager I have seen it a few times, I had someone die on me once, it’s not a nice thing.

“The defib is the easiest piece of equipment to use, it tells you where to place the sticky pads, and won’t start until they are in the right place.”

He described how an automated voice walked them through the process, telling them when to stop and start CPR, and when shocks were going to happen.

Bobby now has a defibrillator, the same as you would find attached to a building, just without the box, which he carries with him to each training session and game.

Their sponsor, Jamie Galloway, gifted the piece of equipment which provides peace of mind for players, and for Kevin when he gets back on the pitch.