THE widow of a footballer who collapsed and died from a heart attack has launched a resuscitation scheme to prevent any more tragedies.
Mother-of-four Nikki Rouse-Thompson, 41, is hoping all clubs under the Witney and District FA will take up the offer of having volunteers trained in how to provide resusitation.
Her husband Paul 38, died last July and Mrs Rouse-Thompson, from Aston, near Witney, has joined forces with Nick Thompson, an advanced life support instructor, to offer the free, weekly resus training to clubs.
The scheme started on Saturday to coincide with European Heart Failure Awareness Day.
Mr Thompson collapsed at Witney Royals’ Burwell Meadow training ground and Mrs Rouse-Thompson explained: “After Paul’s death I started the LegacyforaLegend memorial fund with Paul’s friend Steve Hawkins.
“We have been planning this programme of resus training since January and it started on Saturday at CSE Systems in North Leigh near Witney, where 12 members of Witney Royals were trained by Nick.”
She continued: “Unfortunately there is no legislation that requires a resus-trained person at men’s football games. But hopefully the training we will be offering to two members of every club in the League in the coming months, will mean that if there is an emergency, there will be people there who know what to do quickly and lives can be saved.”
Paul Thompson was a plumbing and heating engineer and father to five-year-old Lilli, and three step-children – Lucas, 19, Eddie, 17 and Hannah, 16.
He had visited his GP in February 2012 complaining of chest pains and had been diagnosed with two heart valve abnormalities. But nothing was detected to suggest he should not lead a normal life.
Mrs Rouse-Thompson, a nurse, said: “Paul and my son Eddie had gone football training on a normal Tuesday night and Lilli and I were in the garden when I got a call to say Paul was having trouble breathing.
“When I got to the club I found two paramedics working on him and I joined in with the resuscitation.
“I thought he would pull through, but he never regained consciousness and I never got to speak to him.”
Mr Thompson was declared dead after 30 minutes. An inquest later recorded a verdict of natural causes.
His wife said: “I had to go home and tell Lilli her daddy had gone to heaven and she broke down in tears.”
As well as offering resus training, Mrs Rouse-Thompson plans to buy Witney Royals FC a heart defibrilator and hopes other clubs will follow.
Nick Thompson, 38, from Witney, is a senior operations practitioner with Bucks Health Care NHS Trust and is leading the resus training. He is no relation.
He said: “I am doing this training as a volunteer in my own time, for as long as it takes, because the more people know resuscitation techniques, the greater the chance lives will be saved.”
Mrs Rouse-Thompson added: “Paul’s death has left a gaping hole in the family but I think he would be overwhelmed that so many people want to do something so important in his memory. The first session went really well and will hopefully raise valuable awareness.”
- To donate to projects in Paul Thompson’s name and find out more about the resus training visit LegacyforaLegend.org.uk