Cardiac arrest rugby player Ross Cornwell's defibrillator push

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An action shot of Ross Cornwell playing rugbyImage source, Spencer Love Photography
Image caption,
Ross Cornwell said tests were unable to identify an underlying condition

An amateur rugby player who suffered a cardiac arrest has kickstarted a campaign for all grounds in Wales to be fitted with defibrillators.

Ross Cornwell, 28, was watching a Premiership clash between his old team Bargoed and Ebbw Vale when he collapsed two months ago.

His life was saved by the teams' medics, who used a defibrillator on the side of the pitch.

Mr Cornwell has now been made a patron of the charity Welsh Hearts.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Welsh Hearts is calling for all rugby grounds to have defibrillators pitch side

The charity is calling for all rugby grounds to have defibrillators pitch side - and not just in club houses.

He said: "I was stood on the side, literally just standing still. I felt suddenly light headed and then next thing I knew then I was waking up on the side of the rugby pitch.

"First of all I thought I'd just fainted. It wasn't until I got the hospital I realised what had happened was a lot more serious."

The match was abandoned as players and spectators watched him being attended to before an ambulance arrived.

The Newbridge RFC player is now facing an early retirement after surgery to have a new type of defibrillator implanted inside his body.

Image source, Ross Cornwell
Image caption,
Ross Cornwall is now facing an early retirement after surgery

He is now due to marry his fiancé, Lauren Deneen. She said he's lucky to be alive as he was planning to stay at home the day he collapsed.

"I've never done CPR in my life, I don't know what I would have done. If it wasn't for that device he wouldn't be here," she said.

The WRU says all of its professional regions and Premiership teams are required to have defibrillators.

There are 260 full member clubs and 44 district members clubs as well as the four professional regions.

A WRU spokesman said: "The welfare of players, volunteers and spectators at all clubs around Wales is of paramount importance to us as a Union and we will continue to work with partners such as Welsh Hearts and St Johns Cymru to provide opportunities for grassroots clubs to have the best possible first aid provision and equipment."

Welsh Hearts said it has installed 50 to 60 defibrillators already.

However, officials from the charity say they "particularly concerned" about grassroots clubs.

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