David Ginola, on his day, was an absolute magician on a football pitch.
The Frenchman took the Premier League by storm in the 1990’s with his immaculate dribbling and also proved a hit with the ladies. However, a tragic fight with his health has served to mar his retirement.
Moreover, the 49-year-old has opened up about the terrifying moment his heart stopped beating during a charity match. It’s an astonishing and sobering tale.
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The classy Frenchman is widely considered as a Premier League great and is subsequently a man in demand when it comes to charity matches. After all, 1999 saw him scoop the Player of the Year award.
Since his retirement in 2002, Ginola continued to play amateur football too, so he’s about as fresh as a legend can be.
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Therefore, when the chance to play in a charity match at the house of a rich friend in Mandelieu-La Napoule came along, he obviously obliged.
However, the game swiftly turned to tragedy when the 49-year-old swallowed his own tongue and stopped breathing.
Speaking about the horrific scare for the first time, as per The Sun, Ginola explained: “I was running back to the halfway line when boom, my heart just stopped and I hit the ground face-first.
“The players thought I was joking but then my friend said, ‘Look at him, he is not OK, he is not fooling around.’
“I swallowed my tongue and my friends fought to get it out of my throat, but my teeth kept clamping down on their fingers.
“Someone called the emergency services and they said, ‘Forget the tongue, he is dead, his heart has stopped, you need to concentrate on pumping his chest.’
“My heart stopped for eight minutes at least. There was no pulse. I was dead. Then the air ambulance arrived and they hooked me up to a defibrillator.
“After the fourth my heart started again. The ambulance worker turned to my friends and said, ‘I have a pulse.’ Everyone started cheering and crying.”
In an astonishing effort from the emergency services, CPR ensured Ginola started breathing again having been medically dead for nearly ten minutes. The cause was later revealed as a heart attack.
While the heart attack itself was caused by a genetic trait, the ex-Spurs man’s lifestyle certainly didn’t help his cause.
Having hung up his boots at age 35, Ginola began smoking as well as drinking heavily. This was apparent the night before the incident where he stayed up late at a Chris Brown concert before indulging in wine and cigarettes.
This, in part, can be attributed to the quadruple bypass needed to unblock his arteries after his resuscitation.
It certainly proves a terrifying incident and one that could easily have ended in unparalleled tragedy.
Ginola finished by alluding to a humbling act by stating: “My friend, the footballer Frederic Mendy, did CPR and it is him I have to thank for being alive today, because he kept the blood going to my brain.”
Simply put, thank you Frederic. Period.
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