Case Study: Asad - "From the football pitch to a coma in a matter of hours"

It was the day after another routine run for 40-year-old Asad Kayani on his training plan for the Half Marathon in Birmingham. Having completed marathons previously, the challenge for this one was completing on a fast in the Holy month of Ramadan.

The day after his marathon training, on 6 March, Asad met his fellow Muslim friends from work, to play a 90 minute, 5 a side kickabout, at a community centre in the heart of inner city Sparkhill, and wasn’t expecting to wake up in hospital. Were it not for the presence of two hospital medics, he might not have woken up at all.

With no previous health conditions, Asad had been enjoying life with his wife and three young children. On 6 March 2022, when he had finished playing football and was catching up with friends on a post-game chin wag, he began to feel a little strange and stretched off to see if that would help.

He began walking back into the football facility before collapsing, or at least that is what he was told - he has no recollection of the three days before his cardiac arrest. Asad had collapsed and was caught by a friend, who put him in the recovery position, and checked his pulse, by which time it became very clear that Asad had endured a heart attack. After a short time his pulse was checked again and it was no longer present - he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Thankfully, the team playing football after him had two players who were hospital medics, one from Sudan and the other Egyptian. Upon hearing the commotion and a call for help, they rushed over and were able to start performing CPR. Having formal CPR training, meant they were both able to take turns in administering CPR until the Ambulance arrived. The paramedics administered several shocks to Asad’s body. Over 50 minutes passed before Asad was able to be brought back to life. 

Asad said:  "I was in a coma for eight days and when I came round I couldn’t move my legs and was delirious. Coping with the physical impact was very tough, however the mental impact is relentless."

I want all survivors of a cardiac arrest to be able to have equal access to physical and psychological rehabilitation. It is so crucial in regaining a sense of yourself back.
Asad Kayani

Asad now uses this experience to campaign for greater awareness of Bystander CPR and better first aid training. 

He says: “It can be extremely traumatic to be witness to a sudden cardiac arrest. Those who supported me in my time of need, deserve my love and gratitude but also support in coming to terms with what they saw and felt. Without them I would not be here to tell the tale.

“Bystander CPR rates are low in our country, particularly within ethnic communities – where people are more likely to have a cardiac arrest and less likely to know what to do. It is important that everyone learns CPR. It could happen to anyone at any time – I am living proof of that. While CPR must be a tremendously difficult thing to do, the mere act of trying to administer CPR is an act of selfless heroism that deserves respect. Many try unsuccessfully, some try successfully, but all are heroes.”