Football team includes heroes that suffer with critical heart conditions

Football heroes Fabrice Muamba, Tom Lockyer and Glenn Hoddle have joined a team dubbed the 'Re-Starting 11' – because they’ve all been impacted by life-threatening heart conditions.

The inspiring lineup, unveiled at Wembley Stadium, contains a team of players and fans who have either survived a cardiac arrest or saved someone’s life – and who will be highlighting the importance of learning lifesaving CPR.

The 'Re-Starting 11' team, managed by icon Graeme Souness and Hoddle, also features Derby County defender Megan Tinsley and Wigan Athletic striker Charlie Wyke.

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The line-up is part of a new campaign, ‘Every Minute Matters’, which was created by Sky Bet and the British Heart Foundation. It aims to recruit 270,000 people – the equivalent of three Wembley Stadiums – to learn lifesaving CPR over the next 12 months.

Souness, who was diagnosed with coronary heart disease in his early 30s, said: “CPR saves lives – and you only have to look at our Re-Starting 11 to see that.

“It’s a privilege to join a team of inspiring people, many who are only here today thanks to CPR, as we stand with Sky Bet and the British Heart Foundation to call on the nation to take action. Every day, more than 80 people will suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK – and that’s why we need more people to learn CPR through RevivR.

“Together we can equip thousands more fans with the knowledge and confidence to perform these lifesaving skills, because in the crucial moments following a cardiac arrest every minute really does matter.”

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The team includes Tom Lockyer, who had cardiac arrest at Bournemouth in 2023The team includes Tom Lockyer, who had cardiac arrest at Bournemouth in 2023
The team includes Tom Lockyer, who had cardiac arrest at Bournemouth in 2023 | Sky Bet / BHF Every Minute Matters

No minute wasted

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, equating to at least five every 90 minutes – and each minute that passes without CPR reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent.

And fewer than one in 10 survive - often because those around them lack the skills or confidence to perform CPR.

Every Minute Matters will urge everyone to take 15 minutes – the length of the half-time interval – to learn CPR with the charity’s online tool RevivR, while Sky Bet is pledging to donate £3million to support the work of Britain’s biggest heart charity starting with £10,000 for every goal scored in the EFL Play-Offs.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive at British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Millions have watched as players and fans have suffered devastating cardiac arrests in football stadiums – cardiac arrests really can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Every Minute Matters will equip thousands of fans with lifesaving CPR skills, giving them the confidence to step in during the ultimate medical emergency.

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“It will also improve access to defibrillators in communities across England, and fund millions of pounds of groundbreaking research into new treatments and cures for heart conditions. With the support of legends from the world of football who have been affected by devastating heart conditions, this ambitious partnership will undoubtedly save lives.” 

The Re-Starting 11 team includes:

Graeme Souness (Team Co-Manager): The former Liverpool FC player and manager was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. He has undergone several operations in his life and suffered from a heart attack.

Glenn Hoddle (Team Co-Manager): The former Tottenham Hotspur legend and Chelsea and England manager suffered a cardiac arrest in October 2018 and his life was saved through CPR.

  1. David Ginola: The former Newcastle United and Spurs star collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest in a charity game in the South of France in 2016. Friend and former professional footballer Frederic Mendy performed CPR. until medics arrived.
  2.  Fabrice Muamba: The former Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers midfielder, suffered a cardiac arrest in 2012 during a televised FA Cup match. His heart stopped beating for 78-minutes as medical staff on the pitch, including a cardiologist in the crowd, battled to save his life.
  3.  Tom Lockyer: Tom is a Welsh international footballer who collapsed playing for Luton Town during last year’s Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final. Lockyer experienced an atrial flutter and underwent a procedure to treat it. He later suffered a cardiac arrest during a Premier League match against Bournemouth in December 2023. His life was saved by club medics who rushed to perform CPR.
  4.  Charlie Wyke: In November 2021, the Wigan Athletic striker suffered a cardiac arrest during training and his heart stopped beating for four minutes. His life was saved thanks to immediate action by then Wigan boss Leam Richardson who performed CPR until club doctor Jonathan Tobin took over. 
  5.  Megan Tinsley: Derby County defender, Megan Tinsley was diagnosed with atrial septal defect (ASD) at the age of three - a condition in which there is a hole between the two collecting chambers of the heart - and had surgery two years later to address the issue.
  6.  Claire Bailey: The Doncaster Rovers employee went to the GP with a suspected chest infection and was referred to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where she had a cardiac arrest. After an urgent heart transplant, Clare is now back working at the club.
  7.  Adam Dodd: A semi-professional footballer, Adam suffered a cardiac arrest at home when his life was saved by his girlfriend Kat who performed CPR until Paramedics arrived. Adam is back playing football again.
  8.  Lukas Jonassen: Amateur footballer Lukas suffered a cardiac arrest while playing six-a-side at North Kesteven Leisure Centre in Lincoln. His life was saved by a member of the opposite team, Tom Dunning, who performed CPR on him and Lukas made a full recovery.
  9.  Lee Stevenson: The Sunderland AFC fan’s life was saved by his fiancée Amy Stevenson after he had a cardiac arrest at home. She administered CPR while waiting for paramedics. Lee survived and has made a good recovery.
  10.  Andrew Barnett: Cardiff City fan Andrew was playing in a dads vs kids game when he suffered a cardiac arrest. His life was saved by leisure centre duty manager Ben Clarke who administered CPR - he has since made a good recovery.
  11.  Nick Thomas: An SCA football regular was saved by three of his team-mates who gave CPR after Nick suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in early August 2023 whilst playing in his regular Thursday night football match. He was saved by three of his teammates who performed CPR for 15 minutes. Nick has since made a full recovery.

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