Former Australian cricketer Ryan Campbell says he was only given a 7% chance of survival after suffering a cardiac arrest in April. Campbell, who played two ODIs and three T20s for Australia and is now the national coach of the Netherlands, was at an England playground with his two children when he suddenly felt ill.
He was given CPR at the scene before being rushed to the NHS Royal Stoke University Hospital, where he spent seven days in an induced coma. The 50-year-old has now been discharged and is expected to make a full recovery. Tests have ruled out a heart attack as the cause of the cardiac arrest, and tests also show no damage to the heart.
“It’s seven days of my life that I’ll never remember. Thankfully I came back,” Campbell said of his near-death experience. “My wife said my odds were like 7% or something, which means I get a second crack at it and I’m going to make sure I live it to the most and have a lot of fun. I’m going to love my loved ones and give them tighter hugs every time I see them.”
Campbell says he feels a bit nervous not knowing exactly what caused the cardiac arrest. He had a chest infection while in South Africa last November and also caught Covid-19 in February, but specialists are not sure whether those events played a part in the cardiac arrest.
“They’ve definitely ruled out heart attacks, and they’re saying my heart is in perfect condition,” Campbell told Rush Hour WA. “It’s one of those weird things that no one can put a finger on it. My surgeon said it’s great news that you’re as fit as a bull, but the bad news is I can’t tell you what happened, which makes you a bit nervous.”
The news of Campbell’s cardiac arrest came as a huge shock given how fit and healthy he is. It also came shortly after Australian cricket legends Shane Warne and Rod Marsh died from suspected heart attacks.
“We were at a playground with my two kids, and my daughter wanted to go on the slide, and I was up there and for some reason I was tired and decided to lie down,” Campbell said of his cardiac arrest.
“The lucky thing was I lied down on the foot of a young girl whose mother was the one who saved my life with CPR. She had just literally finished her course – just a surreal experience. I actually had lunch with her yesterday. What do you say to someone who just saved your life? It was a pretty cool experience.”
Campbell is not allowed to fly for several months, meaning he will catch the ferry back to the Netherlands to resume his coaching duties.