Former Airdrie boss Eddie Wolecki Black meets the man who saved his life

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Eddie Wolecki Black meets the man who saved his life

The away dressing room at Cowdenbeath doesn't immediately stand out as a venue that would stir the most powerful of human emotions.

For Eddie Wolecki Black, it was the scene of the most dramatic and pivotal moment of his life.

"It was a fairly normal day," the 52-year-old told BBC Scotland's Sportsound programme.

"Everything was fine. I went to wash my hands and I couldn't turn the tap on. I grabbed our physio and said, 'I don't feel too well, something's wrong'."

Wolecki Black was suffering a massive stroke during the half-time interval as his Airdrieonians side took on Cowdenbeath. That was in March 2016.

He recently returned to the same dressing room with his wife Emma to meet the man he credits with saving his life, Dr Bob Brownlie, who was Cowdenbeath's club doctor at the time.

"According to the consultants I spoke to later, they reckoned I should've been dead," Wolecki Black explained.

Eddie Wolecki-Black
Wolecki-Black had a hugely successful stint as manager of women's team Glasgow City before joining Airdrie

"I certainly believe Bob played a massive part in keeping me alive that day. That quick action from Bob certainly helped keep me alive.

"I'm ever so grateful. I'll never be able to thank this man enough.

"All the people that were on call that day, I'll never be able to thank them enough for making sure that I still had a life to keep on living."

From battling to try to earn a League One play-off place, Wolecki Black was suddenly battling for firstly his life, then his quality of life.

"They told me I wouldn't walk again and I wouldn't talk again," he said.

"You just saw me walking here and I'm obviously speaking to you right now. I'm still fighting.

"Inside I feel great. My brain feels sharp. I can still watch football games; in fact I do a wee bit of analysis for one or two people. I'm very thankful for that.

"It makes you think 'I can still do this job'. That gives me hope that I can still get back in the game at some point."

As part of the recovery process, Wolecki Black is keen to try any radical treatment and has taken inspiration from BBC journalist Andrew Marr, who pursued treatment in the United States following a stroke.

'I'm a very lucky guy'

"My wife and I watched that one night - 'Andrew Marr, My Brain and Me' it was called. We were fascinated by this documentary," said former Montrose player Wolecki Black.

"He didn't give up. He went and looked for alternative treatment to what we can get here. It does come at a cost. A good friend of mine had set up a fund page to try and raise the funds.

"The cost seems to be escalating all the time. You can't keep going back to the well all the time so we have to look at alternative ways to raise money.

"I've just got to go there and hope that any kind of percentage improvement is going to change my life. I know there's no guarantee but I'm a great believer that you have to take risks. I'm willing to take that risk.

"I'm a very lucky guy," he added. "The way I get up in the morning I always think 'there's somebody out there that's worse than me'. I have to live by that.

"I've got to live by the fact that I'm a very lucky guy to be alive. I've got to try to make the best of it."

The full interview with Eddie Wolecki-Black will be broadcast on Sportsound on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online on Tuesday from 18:30 GMT.

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