Friday 21 October, 2022: A Nottingham Forest supporter, who went into cardiac arrest shortly after kick-off at a football match at the Amex Stadium in Brighton and Hove, has thanked the St John volunteers, stewards and medical staff who helped save his life. 

Bob Whetton, 73, suffered a cardiac arrest outside the stadium, at a Brighton match against Nottingham Forest last Tuesday (18). 

He said: “I’m so grateful for the intervention of Brighton and everyone who helped, from club stewards, St John Ambulance, the paramedics, the crowd doctor, the NHS from the Royal Sussex County Hospital A&E and cardiology teams.    

“I’m still under the care of the cardiology team, but if I hadn’t had that support, I wouldn’t be here to give this story.” 

Just after kick-off, Bob fell as he was making his way from the train station to the away end. 

St John Ambulance volunteers Peter Bennett, Declan Dexter and Cadet Myles Donald noticed he was unwell and reacted immediately with stewards and paramedics. In just over 90 seconds, they were performing CPR and had fitted a defibrillator to his chest, helping to save Bob’s life. 

Thanks to an incredibly quick response from all those involved and the A&E and cardiology teams at the Royal Sussex, he is set to make a full recovery. 

He is the seventh supporter in the last decade to have his life saved by the incredible work of the club's staff and St John. 

Albion’s head of safety and security Adrian Morris said, “I am so proud of the staff and our medical partners. There is no doubt that their swift actions and instinctive response saved Bob's life.  

"It was a textbook example of everyone involved in the health and safety of supporters at the Amex working together in an emergency situation."  

Just after kick-off, Bob fell as he made his way from the station to the away end. 

St John Ambulance’s Trevor Moss added, “During the first half of the match we were made aware by the control room that a male had collapsed outside of the stadium. I dispatched the nearest St John Ambulance first aid team to the scene. 

“The information we were passed back by stewards, first on the scene, was incredibly helpful, as this meant the volunteers were able to assess the situation and prepare as they made their way there. Those seconds may seem like nothing, but they are vital in a situation like this. 

"On arrival of the first aid team – within 90 seconds of the call – I was notified that Bob was in cardiac arrest and CPR was being carried out together with the defibrillator being applied. 

“After one shock, Bob regained consciousness. He was then transported to hospital by the South East Coast Ambulance Service, and was sitting up and talking." 

Adrian added, "From that initial calm-but-quick reaction of our stewards, to the deployment of St John Ambulance staff and assessment of the situation from the stadium control room, everyone involved helped save Bob's life. 

“We have spent a number of years working with our staff, and training for these types of situations and while it is a traumatic experience for the patient and family and friends, it’s immensely pleasing to see the result.  

"That calm and measured approach from all concerned meant Bob went from being in a life-threatening situation to a stable one, comfortable in an ambulance and transferred to the Royal Sussex County Hospital before the half-time whistle blew.”  

Professor Rob Galloway added, “We are proud of the record at the Amex, we have had seven cardiac arrests which have resulted in similar outcomes, which is an astonishing statistic, and the chance are something like one in 1.28 billion. 

"Tragically, CPR isn't even started in about half of cardiac arrests. Even for those patients that ambulance teams arrive in time to start CPR, only nine per cent survive. 

“A huge factor in Bob's survival, and the other six patients who survived, was the quality of the AED defibrillators the club has invested in, these are far more sophisticated and allow shocks to be given straight after the last compression.” 

So, how does Professor Rob arrive at the odds of more than one in a billion? 

He added, "Seven people have suffered cardiac arrests at the Amex since it opened, all of whom have survived. One in twenty people survive a cardiac arrest, so for each time a person has survived at the Amex, the odds times by twenty. 

"Of course, this success is helped by a few other factors, not least the awareness of stewards, the incredible level of training employed by the club and the investment in state-of-the-art medical facilities at the Amex."