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Man saved life of teen, 18, when he suddenly collapsed on golf course

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Pictures of Guy Govar on golf course and in hospital
Guy Gowar suddenly collapsed at the age of 18 while he was playing golf (Picture: British Heart Foundation)

A teenager has revealed how he almost died at the age of 18 due to a heart condition – if it hadn’t been for a golf player who saved his life.

Almost a year on from the day which could have changed everything, Guy Gowar told Metro.co.uk about how it was a ‘normal day’ at Meole Brace golf course in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on April 5 last year.

‘I went to play golf with one of my best mates,’ said Guy, who is now 19.

‘It was about 5.30 in the evening and we got round most of the way, we were on the ninth hole – the course is only 12 holes.

‘I was teeing off and had been feeling fine all day, and hadn’t thought anything was wrong with me.

‘My last memory was the tee shot – it was quite a decent shot. I remember the sound and contact and remember looking at the ball, watching the ball and then I collapsed.

‘Weirdly, I didn’t remember anything when I was in hospital but when my mate spoke to me about the day I said, “Oh yeah, I remember, I remember.”‘

Immediately Aaron, a physiotherapist who was playing on the sixth hole nearby, rushed over to see what had happened.

SUNDAY 8AM: Man saved life of teen, 19, when he suddenly collapsed on golf course Picture: supplied
Guy pictured just before his sudden cardiac arrest, which happened while he was playing golf (Picture: British Heart Foundation)
SUNDAY 8AM: Man saved life of teen, 19, when he suddenly collapsed on golf course Picture: supplied
Guy at Meole Brace golf course in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, a year after his cardiac arrest and photographed in the exact spot where it happened (Picture: British Heart Foundation)

Guy’s friend and four other nearby players said they didn’t know what had happened – but Aaron quickly recognised the teenager was slipping into cardiac arrest, and started CPR.

‘My mate got someone walking by to call an ambulance, and there was a defibrillator at the clubhouse which someone ran to get,’ Guy added, filling in the gaps in his memory.

‘There was also a nurse who was walking on the road nearby, just out for a stroll, she came over to help the physiotherapist. A helicopter also came.’

Incredibly, after just one shock with the defibrillator, Guy’s heart restarted.

He was rushed to Royal Stoke Hospital, in Staffordshire, by ambulance after paramedics in the helicopter decided he was stable enough to travel.

‘I was still unconscious and was taken to hospital were I was put in an induced coma for three days,’ said Guy.

‘They didn’t know at the time if I had any brain damage, so they put me in the induced coma for that time.’

SUNDAY 8AM: Man saved life of teen, 19, when he suddenly collapsed on golf course Picture: supplied
He was put into an induced coma for three days, and it was unknown whether he would have brain damage when he woke up (Picture: British Heart Foundation)
SUNDAY 8AM: Man saved life of teen, 19, when he suddenly collapsed on golf course Picture: supplied
Guy pictured in hospital with his cousin Peter during his recovery (Picture: British Heart Foundation)

His family quickly rushed to his side – including his mum, who had to get a flight over from Kenya – and anxiously waited for him to wake up.

Guy said: ‘I became conscious pretty quickly which was lucky. I woke up on the Thursday and quickly I got to grips with what was going on.

‘I was like, “Oh really.” But I didn’t really fully grasp the seriousness of it.

‘I had been given lots of chocolate so that helped me through it. But I didn’t realise how lucky I was.

‘I’ve been told that without the CPR starting so quickly and without the defibrillator being used so quickly, I would have been in trouble.

‘I also do a lot of sport and keep quite fit so that fitness might have helped me to stay out a bit longer. The bottom line is that without the CPR and defib I would have died.’

Some 10 days after he was admitted to hospital, Guy had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) fitted – a device which shocks the heart back into a regular rhythm if the heart goes into sudden cardiac arrest.

And then eight months later he was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, a heart condition caused by a faulty gene which can generally be controlled with beta blockers.

SUNDAY 8AM: Man saved life of teen, 19, when he suddenly collapsed on golf course Picture: supplied
Pictured here again with Peter, Guy said he now realises he’s lucky to be alive (Picture: British Heart Foundation)

What is Long QT syndrome?

According to the NHS website, Long QT syndrome is an inherited heart problem that affects how your heart beats. In some people, this can cause fainting or seizures.

Some people with long QT syndrome do not have any symptoms. They may only become aware of their condition after having an electrocardiogram (ECG) for another reason.

Symptoms can include:

  • Blackouts or fainting, because the heart has stopped pumping blood properly and the brain is temporarily starved of oxygen. The heart’s rhythm returns to normal within a few minutes and the person regains consciousness
  • Seizures, which sometimes happen instead of a blackout when the brain is starved of oxygen
  • Heart palpitations, when the heart is beating in a fast or unpredictable way

These symptoms can start unexpectedly and may be triggered by stress, a sudden noise, strenuous exercise or a slow heart rate during sleep.

Long QT syndrome is a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young, otherwise healthy, people. It can also be an underlying cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

You can use the British Heart Foundation’s free digital training tool to learn how to do CPR in 15 minutes here.

Guy’s dad had died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 52, and his grandad died from heart failure in his early 50s.

Doctors suspect they both may have had the heart condition, but it’s difficult to ever know. Guy’s brother has been put on beta blockers just in case.

Guy, who is currently on a gap year before hoping to start studying management at university at the end of this year, said he occasionally reflects on the events of that day.

‘I sometimes have those moments when I think about how everything lined up: the physio being close and starting CPR, the nurse walking past, that the tee was close to the clubhouse and that there was a defib at the clubhouse.

‘I do think about that, sometimes. But also, I do forget about it sometimes too as I am now living pretty much the same as I was before.

‘But for others, some have these things happen and it changes their whole life. The only thing I don’t do now is play football as I’d have to wear a protector over my ICD, but that’s a tiny loss, really.

‘I continue to play golf, tennis and cricket, I used to play rugby.’

To thank Aaron, who saved his life, Guy has nominated him for a British Heart Foundation (BHF) award this year under the CPR Hero category.

‘We’re hoping to get a game of golf together at some time in the near future,’ Guy added.

This month, Guy will also cycle 900 miles from Land’s End, the most southerly part of mainland Britain, to John O’Groats, the most northerly part of mainland Britain, to raise money for the BHF.

You can donate to his fundraising page here, which has so far raised more than £8,000.

The British Heart Foundation Heart Hero Awards 2022

A BHF Heart Hero, with Metro.co.uk as its media partner this year, can be anyone from a healthcare professional doing exceptional work, to a young person living with heart disease that has shown incredible courage and determination, to an inspiring fundraiser who has found creative ways to help fund our research.

Those shortlisted will be invited to an awards ceremony in London on Thursday, December 1, when the winners will be announced.

Scottish footballer Scott Allan and TV and radio presenter Will Njobvu are among this year’s celebrity judges, and Vernon Kay is the host.

There are eight categories you can vote for including Young Heart Hero, CPR Hero and Innovative Fundraiser.

The awards ceremony raises awareness of the continued need for funding for the pioneering research that is turning science fiction into reality, and providing hope for more than seven million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory conditions.

To find out more about the categories or to make a nomination, visit the British Heart Foundation website.

Entries close on May 31, 2022 at 5pm. Good luck!

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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