A FOOTBALLER who “died” seven times after suffering a heart attack on a Lothians pitch has offered a message of support to Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba as he fights for his life.
Scott Fleming, who lives in Armadale, has made a remarkable recovery since collapsing due to a rare heart condition while playing in an amateur match in December 2004.
Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest in the FA Cup tie against Tottenham on Saturday and remains critically ill in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital.
Scott, who was diagnosed with the extremely rare heart condition Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, has been following the news closely to see if Muamba’s cardiac arrest was the result of the same condition.
Mr Fleming, 34, said: “I actually watched the first 30 minutes of the game but I was going out, so I switched it off 10 minutes before it happened. I got a text from my cousin just after it.
“There’s not many things that make me flinch but seeing what happened probably would have. I just went straight on the internet to find out as much information as I could.”
The incident brought back vivid memories for Scott, who was playing left back for Sunday league side Balbairdie in December 2004 when he suffered a heart attack.
The design technician for Mitsubishi in Livingston had felt unwell, then collapsed at the side of the Torphichen football pitch.
Unknown to him, he had been born with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, where there are extra electrical pathways in the heart which sometimes interfere with the organ’s proper rhythm.
Despite spending several days in a coma and flatlining seven times, Mr Fleming has gone on to live life to the full. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in February 2009, raising £3200 for the cerebral palsy charity Scope, and hopes to reach Everest Base Camp in the next year or two. He has also climbed around 50 of Scotland’s Munros, taking on a couple every month.
He said his recovery could give Muamba and his family some hope
He said: “I’m hoping that Muamba will make some sort of recovery and have his life back. Fingers crossed he pulls through and, if he does, there’s still a life to be had after what happened. It doesn’t have to be the end of everything.”
Mr Fleming, who had an operation to correct the condition and still plays five-a-side football twice a week, joined support group Cardiac Risk in the Young and its campaign to have heart checks for all young people after his ordeal.
A club statement from Bolton said Muamba was showing “small signs of improvement”.