A promising teenage footballer from Trowbridge who suffered a heart attack on the pitch at Bromham a year ago has been reunited with the surgeon who saved his life.
Striker Quinton Barham had scored a hat-trick in an under 14s cup match for Bradford on Avon YFC last year when he complained of dizziness and severe chest pains and asked to be substituted.
Shortly afterwards his heart stopped and he collapsed on the touchline as spectators, including his dad, Paul, looked on in horror.
The incident echoed the high profile collapse of former Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba, which happened almost two years ago to the date.
Team coaches frantically tried to revive Quinton with CPR before he was rushed to Bristol Children’s Hospital for emergency heart surgery.
Specialists at the hospital found one of Quinton’s coronary arteries had been crushed because it was in the wrong place, causing the cardiac arrest.
The football mad teenager was born with this condition, which is extremely hard to detect.
Quinton was in theatre for six hours while an expert surgical team operated on his heart.
The team in Bristol found that Quinton was born with an anomalous coronary artery which was responsible for the heart attack.
Without stopping the heart, in order to avoid more damage to it with a technique developed in Bristol, the surgical team managed to repair this coronary artery and restore the blood flow into the heart.
Quinton then spent two weeks in intensive care on life support.
Remarkably, Quinton made a full recovery and was back on his feet and on the pitch within a matter of months.
Quinton, now 14, said: “Obviously what happened to me was completely unexpected and very traumatic. I feel lucky to have a second chance at life and wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the doctors and nurses who helped with my recovery.
"Amazingly, because of my operation I’m now fitter than ever before and can run for longer. I don’t get out of breath as easily like I used to.”
Today, Quinton, accompanied by his dad Paul, was reunited with heart surgeon, Professor Massimo Caputo beside the pitch at Bristol City Football Club.
Prof Caputo said: “I’m thrilled to see Quinton doing so well, it’s wonderful to see him again and this time in much better circumstances.
"Working with very sick children every day can be heart-breaking so it’s lovely to see that sometimes there can be such a positive outcome.”
Paul Barham, Quinton’s father is continuing with his campaign work to ensure that medical support is on hand at every football match and is aiming to raise £1 million, through different charities and donations, to buy 1,000 defibrillators for football clubs across the country.
A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by ten per cent.
Since the incident Bradford on Avon YFC has bought two defibrillators, one for home matches and one to take when the club travels to away matches.