Footballer’s collapse on pitch leads Calderdale businessman to launch new life-saving fund

Reactiv launch charity Heartbeat of Sport at The Venue, Barkisland. From the left, Reactiv managing director Tony Abbott with Fax players Tony Tonks and Adam Robinson.
Reactiv launch charity Heartbeat of Sport at The Venue, Barkisland. From the left, Reactiv managing director Tony Abbott with Fax players Tony Tonks and Adam Robinson.

An horrific moment in football has led a Calderdale businessman to start charity he hopes will save lives.

Boss at direct marketing firm Reactiv Media Tony Abbott was among the thousands of fans at Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Bolton Wanderers earlier this year when Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch.

The 24-year-old had suffered a heart attack and had to be given 15 defibrillator shocks before his heart started beating again, 78 minutes after it stopped.

He spent four weeks in intensive care and has now retired from football.

The experience stunned Mr Abbott so much, he decided he had to do something to prevent the same thing happening to others.

He has created a new charity - Heartbeat of Sport - aimed at raising the awareness of cardiac arrest in sport across the whole of the UK.

The fund was officially launched with a money raising ball at The Venue in Barkisland attended by around 250.

“Fabrice’s heart attack had a massive impact on me and it fired me up to do something to help stop this happening to others,” said Mr Abbott.

“We want to educate people about the courses and equipment available and basically make sure someone knows what to do if anyone has a caridac arrest.

“I don’t want to see any more lives lost because clubs are in the dark about the condition.”

The charity already has support from several well-known athletes including Paralympic double gold medal winner Hannah Cockroft, from Halifax.

And Fax player Antony Tonks is patron of the charity.

The ball to launch the fund, held on Saturday night, included the release of a song for the charity called Believe, written by The French 75s, which will be available to download from iTunes.

For more information about the charity and to donate, visit www.heartbeatofsport.org or send cheques made payable to Heartbeat of Sport to Heartbeat of Sport, The Warehouse, Gas Works Lane, Elland, HX5 9HJ.