Charlie Wyke says Man Utd’s Christian Eriksen inspired him to return to football after cardiac arrest | Soccer News
Charlie Wyke says Christian Eriksen’s return to action after suffering cardiac arrest last summer inspired him to follow in his footsteps.
Wigan striker Wyke collapsed when his heart stopped beating for four minutes during a training session in November.
In an incredible twist of fate, Wigan manager Leam Richardson was the first on the scene to perform CPR – just two weeks after the club’s management staff were trained to perform the life-saving treatment.
Wyke had a defibrillator fitted in his chest, similar to that of Manchester United midfielder Eriksen, and made his comeback last weekend – coming off the bench to set up Wigan’s winner at Birmingham City.
It has been a torrid nine months for the former Sunderland striker, who repeatedly thought he was going to have to retire following the hospital procedures he had to endure.
Wyke told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview: “It was the scariest day of my life. I was training normally and then all of a sudden I woke up on the floor with my sleeves cut off, with five staff members. I had no idea what had happened.
“The last thing I remember was walking up to the manager to tell him I was going to collapse, but I couldn’t get my words out. I then found out later that it was actually the gaffer who started the CPR process and made me breathe again. .
“That trip to the hospital in the ambulance was so scary. When I was told it was cardiac arrest, I immediately thought my football career was over. I was absolutely devastated.”
Wyke was accompanied to hospital by Wigan club doctor Jonathan Tobin, who 10 years ago saved the life of Fabrice Muamba on the White Hart Lane pitch.
Tobin was then club doctor Bolton Wanderers, for whom Muamba played. Tobin took over Wyke’s CPR from manager Richardson after he arrived on the scene.
Tobin said: “The same with Fabrice, only after it hit me. It was Charlie – not just another patient. He’s a friend, a colleague, a teammate. really touched emotionally seeing Charlie lying there like it was so hard.
“I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it is to start resuscitation, even to recognize cardiac arrest in the first place. It’s not like he’s just lying there motionless.
“So for the gaffer to have the guts, the smarts and the guts to recognize what’s going on and act like he did was amazing.
“It’s hard enough for a doctor to do that, but for the blunder to…it’s an incredibly brave decision.”
Wigan boss Richardson said: “I thought he was going to tell me he had a tight hamstring or something, but the events that unfolded after that were mind-blowing.
“Luckily me and my staff had received real extensive training just two weeks earlier. Luckily I was able to call on the training. Luckily we all did the right thing. But it was a real out-of-body experience.”
Wyke says he’s only here today because of the actions of his manager and the doctor.
He reflected: “I was told the manager caught me as I was collapsing and within two seconds he was right on my chest.
“My heart stopped for four minutes which was really scary. I wouldn’t be here now without the gaffer and the doctor. They are my heroes for saving my life.”
Wyke’s defibrillator is the same as Eriksen’s and is there to shock him if he has another cardiac arrest.
The 29-year-old said: “I remember being on holiday and watching it all unfold with Eriksen at the Euros and thinking ‘you must be so unlucky for this to happen to you as a player. that player” – then four months later it was me.
“But Eriksen gave me the inspiration to come back. If he hadn’t made the comeback that he has, I don’t think I would have either. I had to see someone d ‘other do it so I can push myself to do it too.
“I got a call from Muamba, who was great – he said things would get easier and they did. I also spoke to Daley Blind who had his defibrillator shock on the pitch, so it was good to talk to to help ease my mind about some things.”
Wyke’s journey has not been without setbacks – and the striker’s comeback was put on hold in March when his own defibrillator activated at his teammates’ shock training.
At this point, Wyke thought he was going to have to retire for good, but he’s changed medication several times and is feeling much better.
He revealed: “Will Keane tried to tell me something, and I looked right through him. I started to feel dizzy and my defibrillator went off. I went from standing to being on the floor in five seconds – the pain was unbearable.
“It gave me a complete full body shock. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt – it was so traumatic.
“It was a shame for my teammates who had to review everything. There were a few tears from the guys which means a lot because it shows how much they care about them.
“It was so frustrating because I was so close to a comeback. The only positive I can take from the situation is that I know the defibrillator is working.
“I have wires in my chest now so if I play and say I get nudged and the wire hits the defibrillator it shuts off so I have a magnet shutting it off. I can do it myself.”
Wyke had plenty of time to reflect over the past nine months, before making his return to the delight and relief of his family.
He said: “I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve been to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, but they’ve been amazing with me. I’ve had five or six procedures, the defibrillator was fitted, so it was a tough time, mentally and physically.
“Rob Cooper from Liverpool Hospital is not only my cardiologist; he’s also like a good friend now. We have a special bond. I consider him family, we talk every day. It comforts me to know keep an eye on me.
“I wake up every morning and send my heart rates to Rob, which is kind of crazy. The first thing I do every day is turn on Bluetooth and wait for the readings to upload. I then downloads them through the app.
“Coming back on the pitch made me feel better physically and mentally. It’s been the toughest battle I’ve ever had and I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had.
“A lot of people have said that I’m mentally the strongest person they know, but I don’t see it that way – I just know I had no other choice.
“My family was in the crowd to see my comeback last weekend and I think it’s the first time my dad has cried. The doctor was there, he was crying too.
“The Wigan fans have been amazing to me so I wanted to come back for them too. It was a very emotional moment, and something I will remember for the rest of my life. I want to thank the manager, the doctor, and the club.”
What would be Wyke’s message to those not trained in CPR?
“Make an effort to get through the training – you never know what to expect. My episode was completely out of the blue. If the manager hadn’t been trained and the doctor wasn’t there then I wouldn’t be not here today. I am very grateful to be truly alive, as crazy as it is for me to say.