Football coach owes life to pitchside defib

Stevie Adamson with former Livingston star David Bingham. Picture: Alex Hewitt
Stevie Adamson with former Livingston star David Bingham. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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No-ONE knows the importance of heart-start machines better than Stevie Adamson.

After collapsing on a pitch, the youth football coach would not be alive today had he not been revived by a defibrillator.

The Preston Athletic coach said he was “fit as a fiddle” prior to his heart attack during a training session in Prestonpans in December – around the same time 13-year-old Jamie Skinner died while playing at Saughton.

Amongst those who rushed to the 46-year-old’s rescue was former Livingston star David Bingham, who relayed instructions from a 999 call-handler while team-mates frantically attempted to save Stevie’s life.

Players and coaches from Preston Lodge Rugby Club, training on an adjacent pitch, rushed over with their defibrillator, without which Stevie may not have survived.

“It was just an absolute shock,” recalled Stevie, as he gave his backing to our Shockingly Easy campaign, which aims to put the heart-starting device into every sports club in the Lothians.

“I’m a healthy guy, I eat right, don’t smoke or drink excessively – I never thought it could happen to me, until I stepped off the pitch and just collapsed.

“I don’t remember a thing until waking up later in the hospital, but they said that my heart did stop by the pitch, and so I technically died.

“If their hadn’t been a defibrillator nearby, if we’d been playing at a different pitch, I would be dead.”

Stevie, now a coach at Tynecastle, was able to make a slow but full recovery from his heart attack, which led to two football clubs kitting themselves out with defibrillators.

Preston Athletic and Craigroyston, where Stevie coached previously, are now prepared for the worst.

“It was really frightening to see what happened to Stevie, and even more so with Jamie,” said Craigroyston coach Sean Gardiner.

“It proved that this can happen to anyone, and so we realised it was a threat we needed to prepare for.

“It just means that extra peace of mind for the parents of our players, because we’ve now got to the point where parents are contacting other clubs inquiring as to whether they’ve got a defibrillator pitchside, and whether they know how to use them. It’s that important.”

Preston Athletic, meanwhile, have been holding training sessions to teach coaches and players how to use their ­defibrillator should they ever need to.

“What happened to Stevie could have happened to any one of us,” explained club organiser Paula Redpath.

“After that incident, we knew we had to act, and so with the help of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Ambulance Service, we were able to acquire a portable defibrillator of our own to have beside the pitch at all times.”

The Evening News has teamed up with the Jamie Skinner Foundation – a charity set up in the tragic teenager’s memory – to raise funds to buy defibrillators.

Stevie urged all sports clubs across the Lothians to get involved with Shockingly Easy.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a defibrillator,” he said. “This campaign is hugely important, and it’s something clubs need to get involved in.”