Hallam FC’s match against Rainsworth MWFC at Sandygate in Crosspool, Sheffield, was abandoned yesterday as the second half kicked off, after one of the assistant referees suffered a suspected heart attack during the game.
Hallam FC’s physio, Shannon Brooks, who also plays for SJR Worksop Women FC, played a key part in saving the man’s life as she was one of the first to his aid and used a defibrillator to treat him.
Paramedics and an air ambulance arrived on the scene shortly afterwards, and the assistant referee was taken to hospital.
Ms Brooks’ quick thinking and calmness under pressure has drawn praise from across the footballing pyramid, and well-wishers have passed on their thanks and stressed how important it is to have defibrillators on site at non-league football matches.
A statement from Hallam FC said: "As most are aware, yesterday’s game against Rainworth was abandoned due to assistant referee Andrew Jarvis becoming unwell and receiving medical assistance from Hallam physio Shannon, and her Rainworth counterparts.
"We have received some fantastic news from Andrew’s son this morning that he is awake and stable in hospital this morning, and will keep us updated with his recovery.
“There is still some way to go, so please keep Andrew and his family in your thoughts.
"Andrew’s son would like to thank Shannon, the Hallam & Rainworth players, and their medical staff for their keep thinking and brave actions.
“From all at Hallam FC, we wish Andrew the best in his recovery and hope to welcome him and his family to Sandygate soon.
“We are extremely proud of our physio Shannon and those of the emergency services, who’ve done themselves proud and proved again how much we need them.
“It also once again highlights the need for defibrillators at all sports grounds at all levels, as well as training to make sure they can be used quickly and effectively.”
The club also said they would release a more detailed statement once they have more information.
A spokesperson for Rainworth FC added: “We came to watch a football match, we left praying for the wellbeing of an official. Paramedics, ambulance crew on site in minutes, quickly followed by the arrival of the air ambulance. That coupled with defibrillator on sight and prompt action by [the] Hallam FC Physio.
"It's so heartwarming to see the concern for today's match official by the non-league community. We may call them during a game, but deep down we care about their wellbeing.”
SRJ Worksop FC described her as a ‘lifesaver’ and ‘a true hero’ in a statement, and added: “Well done Shannon.”
Sheffield Referees’ Association thanked the physio’s efforts, as well as those who have passed on their well-wishes.
There is an ongoing petition aimed at bringing defibrilators to all non-league grounds which you can sign here.