Cricket

Emergency medical staff were amazed James Taylor was able to walk into hospital.

"I thought I was going to die" - James Taylor recalls day heart condition struck

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James Taylor admits he feared he was about to die when a previously undetected heart condition left him gasping for breath and in agony.

Taylor was forced to retire from all cricket at the age of just 26 following the discovery of the condition known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (AVRC).

The symptoms struck on the morning of April 6 when he was warming up before the second day of Nottinghamshire's pre-season match against Cambridge University at Fenner's.

Within minutes he was receiving oxygen in the visitors' changing room, and was driven home and then on to hospital as the problems persisted.

After emergency treatment he spent the next 16 days in hospital. His girlfriend, who had insisted he did not wait for an initial doctor's appointment, was by his bedside almost throughout.

Talking to Sky Sports about how the condition first struck, he told Sky Sports: "It was about four degrees, really cold, and I knew something was wrong when sweat from my head was pounding the floor.

"I was wet through ... my chest started to tighten up, my throat started to tighten up, and I couldn't breathe.

"That was when I thought I was going to die."

In the fraught hours that followed, after treatment at the ground out of sight from his Nottinghamshire team-mates, Taylor began to feel marginally better - but his life remained in danger.

"My body was packing up basically. But I can remember everything," he said.

"I tried to hide it from the guys, what was actually going on.

"It was in quite a public area, so I was quite conscious to not let other people see what was going on.

"The physio put me on oxygen, but again I was conscious enough to get out of the public eye. I said 'we can't do this here' - so we went into the changing room, and he put me on oxygen then."

The signs of distress were obvious, and frightening.

"I was really battling - my heart was beating out of my chest. It was going mental ... out of rhythm.

"All of these things, I knew this was desperately wrong."

It was another five hours before Taylor arrived in hospital, via Trent Bridge.

"I went home and had organised a doctor's appointment to come and see me at 6pm.

"I didn't have my house keys, because I just ditched everything at the ground ... and I curled up at the bottom of the stairs at Trent Bridge, for my mum to come and pick me up.

"Somehow, she found me at the bottom of the stairs and took me home."

At home, he was not getting better.

He said: "I've got a big couch, and the whole couch was vibrating and echoing in the middle with my hearbeat.

"My house was 24 degrees, but my hands from the wrist down were Baltic.

"Everything was freezing, and then I crawled upstairs and was sick everywhere.

"They (his mum and girlfriend) wanted to take me to hospital, but I was trying to be a hero.

"I was almost too embarrassed to go. But my body was starting to pack up, and my left shoulder was starting to kill - which is a sign of a heart attack."

There was only one answer.

"My missus, behind my back, rang the doctor. He said 'just take him to hospital, don't wait for me'.

"When I went in, I was sick everywhere again ... and the nurse rushed me straight through, to where the serious stuff goes down."

The emergency medics were astounded he was still upright.

"My heart rate, when I went in, was at 265 beats per minute.

"(The doctor) turned to me and said: 'Did you walk in here?' They said to my girlfriend: 'No, no, did he really walk in this hospital?' She said 'yes', and they said 'it's a miracle ... he's still standing'.

"If people are going up to 265 beats per minute, they'd be on their back in a matter of minutes and then pass out.

"If my missus hadn't forced the issue, and made me go to hospital, then they said anything could have happened."

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