"Then five of us starting giving him CPR."
A Bradford man has revealed that his friends saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on a football pitch.
Waseem Aslam collapsed at Marley Sports Centre, Keighley, during a friendly match between friends.
Doctors described the actions of Rizwan Malik, Tariq Hussain, Khalid Hussain, Mohammad Sultan and Fazal Rehman as a “miracle” as they kept their friend alive before paramedics arrived.
They told Waseem when he woke up:
“We were never going to give up, we will see you wake up.”
Waseem replied: “The last thing I remember was being stood there on the football pitch and the next thing I was waking up in the ambulance.”
Waseem initially played in goal before he was set to go outfield.
However, the second part never happened as Waseem collapsed on the sideline.
Rizwan Malik recalled: “We all went running across and very quickly it got serious when he didn’t have a pulse.
“Most of the other lads were distraught and in tears. Then five of us starting giving him CPR.
“It seemed like we were doing it forever.
“We couldn’t get through to 999. When they did eventually pick up they took over 25 minutes to get there.
“Luckily, we have all done a first aid course. We just had to keep a clear head.
“The longer we were doing it, the less likely it seemed that we were going to get him back.
“When the paramedics turned up, they put a heart monitor on him and it was a flatline, that is when I just broke down and thought we lost him.
“They got the defibrillator out, shocked him a couple of times and thankfully they got a pulse.
“At the time, it didn’t really sink in that we did anything extraordinary, it was just on the way out the paramedics told us you have just saved his life.”
Waseem woke up the next morning in Leeds General Infirmary’s special heart unit and doctors told him that he had suffered a cardiac arrest.
He said: “Both the ambulance services and the doctors at the ICU said it was a miracle.
“Massive thanks needs to go to my friends who didn’t give up on me.
“I got told they rotated in gaining instructions on the phone, giving me mouth-to-mouth and pumping my chest. They just went into SOS mode and kept me going.
“The first time the paramedics zapped me I flatlined and they were going to call it but my friends begged them to give it one more try.
“Every day is like a bonus, I am not supposed to be alive. I am here because of my friends.”
“(In the hospital) I was at my lowest ebb. I couldn’t take proper breathes. I was having panic attacks and my body was spasming. I felt like I was going to lose my life.”
Rizwan told Waseem’s wife Siama what had happened and he admitted that it was the hardest thing he has ever had to do.
He said: “When I told her, I think he has had a cardiac arrest. She was in pieces over the phone.
“There was me, her and Khalid in the waiting room (at Airedale General Hospital).
“The doctor said he is a really fortunate guy that he has got friends like you.
“He said not only have you saved his life, you have saved his brain.
“The fact you carried on persevering with the CPR means he is not in a vegetative state.
“We were just in the right place at the right time. We did not give up. It will stay with me forever.”
Siama expressed her gratitude and said she struggles to imagine life without Waseem, with whom she has two daughters.
She said: “Words will never be able to express the gratitude and the appreciation I have for his friends who never gave up on him.
“They brought back to life the children’s daddy and my husband. Those men will be heroes until the day I die.”
However, medics cannot determine what caused the cardiac arrest.
One obstacle was when surgeons discovered that one of Waseem’s two blocked arteries could not have a stent installed.
Waseem added: “Emotionally that hit me. The fact they couldn’t treat it was a big bombshell, it really hit me hard.
“The alternative is open-heart surgery, which is a double bypass on the arteries. With me having 12 rib fractures (caused by the CPR), they have said I am not ready for it yet.”