The family of a County Limerick teenager who went into cardiac arrest while playing sport have thanked the coaches and emergency services who worked together to save his life. 

13 year old Ewan John Sabu from Newcastle West was playing football with his local team Newcastle West Football Club on Monday, February 12th when he collapsed. His coaches immediately contacted the emergency services, started CPR and a massive multi-agency response was launched. 

Volunteers from CRITICAL West Limerick CFR group were first on the scene and were soon joined by the National Ambulance Service, Gardai, the Limerick City & County Fire & Rescue Service, Templeglantine CFR group and an off-duty Red Cross EMT. A paediatric team returning to University Hospital Kerry from Crumlin Children’s Hospital also responded. The emergency teams were able to restart his heart and he was brought to University Hospital Limerick where he was stabilised before being transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. 

The family held a small event near their home in Newcastle West to show their appreciation to all those who helped Ewan. 

Ewan’s mother Sandhya Parameswaran, who is a nurse at Dromcollogher & District Respite Care Centre, said, “When I arrived at the pitch I could barely see Ewan. There were so many ambulances, garda cars and fire engines. They reassured me that he was sedated, he was stable and that they were bringing him to Limerick. The Gardai took me straight there and friends brought my husband Sabu John who was leaving work in Adare. The care Ewan received at the scene and in both UHL and Crumlin hospitals was incredible. He was looked after so well by his coaches Niall, Mícheál and the parents who were there, by all the emergency services and medical teams, they are all heroes. It is thanks to them that Ewan is now back at Scoil Mhuire agus Íde where he is a first year student.”

Pictured: Donie Lucey, CRITICAL charity; Eaibeljohn Sabu; Sandhya Parameswaran; Michelle Costello, CRITICAL charity; Ewan John Sabu; Sabu John; Edward Walsh, CRITICAL charity and Pat McCarthy, National Ambulance Service, Community Engagement Officer. Photo: Baker Photography

Critical's West Limerick CFR Group demonstrate lifesaving CPR Techniques at a recent fundraising event in Limerick

Ewan’s family held a small event near their home in Newcastle West to show their appreciation to all those who worked in collaboration to help Ewan on the day.

David Tighe, CEO of CRITICAL charity added, “This is a wonderful example of what is happening across the country every day of the year with our emergency services and volunteer responders working together to save lives. It takes an incredible team effort to restart a heart when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. The quick action of Ewan’s coaches and the collaboration between CRITICAL’s volunteer responders, the paramedics, HSE doctors and nurses, the fire service and Gardai has resulted in this young man walking out of hospital just a few weeks later.”

Ger O’Dea, NAS Community Engagement Manager, said: ”I was delighted to hear of the very successful outcome from this incident which outlines the importance of having members of the public trained in CPR and the use of an AED. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the members of the emergency services and the volunteer community first responders who attended the scene.”

Mr O’Dea added, “Community First Responders are integral to community resilience and NAS is committed to working within these communities to provide the quickest possible response to patient emergencies in order to achieve outcomes like this.”

The West Limerick CFR group has received Basic Life Support bags from Canada Life Reinsurance as part of a three-year partnership with CRITICAL.

These bags include a defibrillator, a resuscitation kit, and a medical diagnostic kit. They will be provided to CRITICAL’s emergency medical responders and CFR groups in communities throughout Ireland. The goal of this partnership is to reduce mortality rates from cardiac arrests in the country.

Canada Life Reinsurance has pledged to donate €15,000 worth of basic life support bags each year until 2026 to support this initiative.

Pictured are Fergus Cooney, Head of Sustainability with Canada Life Reinsurance and Michelle Costello, CRITICAL West Limerick CFR volunteer who responded to the 999 call and helped to save Ewan’s life.