A 33-year-old dad-of-two lay on a rugby pitch without a heartbeat for seven minutes as his team-mates battled to save his life.
Chris Arnott was taking part in a training session on Thursday night when he suddenly collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest.
His wife, Dawn, today said she would be “planning his funeral” if it was not for four quick-thinking teammates – Colin Cooper, Andy Kewley, Jordan Tijou and Robbie Macmillan.
They immediately put Chris, who plays for Fraserburgh Rugby Club, into the recovery position and started performing CPR as they fought to save his life – with Colin running to the neighbouring Fraserburgh Fitness Centre to grab a defibrillator and David Cranston, the club’s director of rugby, phoning 999.
Dawn, 30, said: “Four of them put Colin into the recovery position and they all did a different thing to help him.
“It was Colin who got the defibrillator from the fitness centre and Andy was trying to get his tongue so he wouldn’t swallow it because he was struggling to breathe.
“Jordan was trying to get any kind of response from him.
“They did four rounds of CPR. It wasn’t until the fourth round that the defibrillator found a shockable rhythm.
“Once he got the shock, his heart kickstarted again.”
After his heart was restarted, Chris, from Rosehearty, was rushed by ambulance to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he remains in a critical condition.
Dawn, who is mother to Dexter, six, and Summer, five, said: “Honestly, I’m still in shock. It hasn’t sunk in for me.
“They don’t know what has caused it and he will be in hospital for a good few weeks.
“They said it is a one-in-a-million case because he’s young and fit.
“There’s no apparent reason why he had a cardiac arrest.”
Doctors are carrying out extensive tests to get to the bottom of what happened but it is too early to say if there has been any long-term damage to his heart.
Dawn said her husband has been a “lucky boy” and credits his fellow players and the defibrillator with saving his life.
She said: “There’s a multitude of reasons why I should be planning Chris’s funeral.
“There was no official first aider, they all do it voluntarily.
“The fact it happened where it was with a defibrillator on site was a massive thing.
“Defibrillators don’t have a high success rate, it’s between five and 15%. It’s not that they don’t work it’s just that time is critical.”
Speaking from his hospital bed Chris, who works as a policeman based in Fraserburgh, said: “I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support to myself, Dawn and our family over these difficult few days.
“I cannot express enough gratitude to Colin, Robbie Andy, Jordan and Davie and the rest of my teammates for their quick thinking and actions, which undoubtedly saved my life.
“I only hope that people reading this story will take cognisance of the importance of community defibrillators and knowing where they are situated.”
Dawn said she really wants to thank the rugby club for all it did.
She said: “If it wasn’t for them my kids would be growing up without a dad.
“He is a really lucky boy. He was told that for the amount of time he was out, he had a one-in-20 chance of long-term brain damage – but he’s fine.
“We really want to thank the rugby club, the fitness centre and highlight the importance of knowing where a defibrillator is and having them in the community because it saved his life.”
Dean Underwood, president of the club, said he was proud of the efforts of his players and wished Chris a speedy recovery.
He said: “Their quick reactions are what saved Chris but also the fact that we were lucky enough to get the use of the defibrillator from the fitness centre.
“We were very fortunate that they had one. They worked as a team when they did the CPR.
“It was fantastic and they remained calm.
“No one was panicking and they did exactly what they had to do.”