Praise for physios and ex-Luton Town player who saved life of young footballer in Dunstable

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The life of a young footballer was saved during a match in Dunstable on Saturday by quick-thinking physios and a former Luton Town player.

AFC Dunstable physio Niki Jayakody and Hertford Town’s physio Paige Simms, along with AFC player Alasan Ann (who is also a physio) rushed on the pitch as Hertford player Potchu Mendes Calucane collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Alasan - who played a couple of games for the Hatters first team about a decade ago before being released - carried out lifesaving CPR and the physios used the club’s defibrillator, before ambulance crews arrived and the 24-year-old was taken to Harefield Hospital. He is expected to stay in hospital for a few more days.

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In a statement, Hertford Town said: "We are overjoyed to announce he is on the road to recovery and is in a stable condition in hospital.

Potchu is now recovering in hospitalPotchu is now recovering in hospital
Potchu is now recovering in hospital

"We would like to place on record our overwhelming gratitude to the heroes involved in saving Potchu's life.

"The quick reaction and thinking of all those involved and the aid of the mobile AED in our dugout all contributed to saving Potchu's life.

"In what were extremely distressing scenes, we'd like to thank all of the management, staff and fans of AFC Dunstable for their help and support on the day.

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"On behalf of ourselves and Potchu, we'd like to express our thanks and appreciation to the wider football community for all of their well wishes and supportive messages we have received. It's been nothing short of overwhelming. Thank you."

In a statement after the match AFC Dunstable said: "AFC Dunstable's game against Hertford Town was abandoned on the hour mark after a serious medical event on the pitch to a Hertford player.

“Physios from both teams and AFC player Alasan Ann resuscitated the player with the help of a defibrillator. Had it not been the swift actions of all parties the outcome would have ended in the worst case possible.”

AFC chairman Simon Bullard added: "I'd like to thank everyone involved during today’s incident especially our player Alasan Ann, Niki our physio and Paige, Hertford's physio, for their quick response and to all the players, spectators and staff of both clubs who witnessed it today.

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“We hope the player will make a speedy recovery and will be back playing again soon."

Both clubs postponed further matches planned for the Bank Holiday period.

Launching the GoFundMe page, which has so far raised more than £1,300, Hertford FC said: “After suffering a cardiac arrest playing football for Hertford Town FC, Potchu now faces a period where he will be incapacitated and therefore will not be able to return to his day job. I know that Potchu would never give his blessing for something like this, as he is a very proud and humble young man, however, the reality is that he will be without an income for a prolonged period of time, whilst he concentrates on his recovery.

“Hertford Town FC have pledged to continue paying Potchu during his recovery and we know times are tough, but we would really appreciate any contributions you may be able to give.

“100% of any funds raised will go directly to Potchu.”

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