Kevin McCloy From The Cormac Trust Handing With The New Defibrillator To Nicholas O Shiel

When Kevin McCloy tells you a defibrillator can save lives, he’s speaking from experience. The 38-year-old former Derry GAA captain and Lavey player almost died in 2014.

The Lavey man collapsed on the pitch at Owenbeg, outside Dungiven, just 10 minutes into the game against Magherafelt. Thanks to the work of doctors on the scene and a defibrillator “I was saved”, said Kevin.

“I was gone for about seven minutes,” he told the ‘Journal’.

“I don’t remember much about the incident at all. I was a bit nervous going into the game but, 10 minutes in, the heart started to race and go out of control and my heart just stopped. Three days later I woke up, out of a coma, in Altnagelvin.”

Almost three years on from that life-changing day, Kevin speaks candidly about his experience and the impact on his life.

“It’s frightening,” said Kevin.

Like most people, Kevin – who has played football all his life, 20 years at club level and 11 years at county level – never thought it would happen to him.

“But, unfortunately it did and I’ve lived to tell the tale,” he said.


Kevin McCloy From The Cormac Trust Handing With The New Defibrillator To Nicholas O Shiel

Kevin McCloy from the Cormac Trust handing with the new Defibrillator to Nicholas O Shiel which will be based in Omagh Enterprise Centre, which is available to the community.

Kevin is a huge champion of The Cormac Trust, which was set up in memory of the 24-year-old Tyrone footballer who died in his sleep in 2004 from a hidden heart condition.

“They were a big push in getting defibrillators on the GAA scene and now, across all the clubs, you would see very few without one. Now, they’re on the main thoroughfares and streets, and that gives everybody a better chance again.”

Kevin believes businesses and workplaces should have defibrillators.

“Anybody that has more than five people in their offices, or businesses should have a defibrillator on site. Everybody has measures in place for fire safety. There are far more people who die from a cardiac arrest each year than there is from fire, so this should be treated just as seriously,” he said.

Kevin’s football days on the pitch are over, something he’s finally come to accept. He’s keeping well and is getting the best of care.

“I was in London last week for an MRI so, hopefully, I’ll get positive results out of that. It’s tight going, but I think anyone with four children under the age of five is tired anyway,” he said, laughing.

“I had to stop playing football when I got my own defibrillator inserted; it’s too dangerous to play. It’s called an internal cardio defibrillator so it monitors my heart at all times. I’m monitored 24-7. I’ll have it for the rest of my days. Probably every 10 or 12 years it’ll need to be changed because of the battery power, but it’s a nice piece of insurance to have for my wife and family.”

Kevin said “only about five per cent of people survive a cardiac arrest”.

“I’m one of the lucky ones. By the same tone I played 20 years of senior football for the club so, for that to be taken away from you in one shot is heartbreaking. I think it was probably a year and a half before I accepted that but, as the wife told me, I wouldn’t have been playing the following year anyway!”