Wigan Athletic striker Charlie Wyke reveals how boss and lifelong Leeds United fan saved his life

Wigan Athletic striker Charlie Wyke has revealed how his boss Leam Richardson, a lifelong Leeds United fan, helped save his life.

By Graham Smyth
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 3:48 pm

Wyke is now at home recovering from a medical procedure having suffered a cardiac arrest last week during a training session last week.

The 28-year-old has credited the swift action of Richardson and club doctor Jonathan Tobin that saved his life at Christopher Park, before he was taken to hospital.

In a statement Wyke thanked the pair for their heroics.

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“First and foremost, I just want to stress my sincere appreciation to the club’s medical staff and the NHS staff who have cared for me after I was taken into hospital last week," he said.

"In particular, I would like to mention Dr Rob Cooper from the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital for everything he has done for me over the last week or so.

“I feel it’s important to tell my story to our supporters and to the wider public, because my life has been saved by the actions of the gaffer [Richardson] and the club doctor Jonathan Tobin, and my story may well save another life.

“As you are aware, I collapsed during training on Monday. I suffered a cardiac arrest and required CPR, and I am told it was only the quick response of the gaffer to initiate the resuscitation process and then the continuation from the Doc that saved my life.

LIFE SAVER - The swift actions of Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson, a lifelong Leeds United fan, helped saved the life of striker Charlie Wyke. Pic: Getty

"I will be forever grateful that due to their actions – and those of my team-mates and other staff - I am here to talk to about the experience."

Wyke also revealed that Wigan staff had received CPR training just a few weeks ago, which proved crucial in his case.

"[It] has clearly proven to be life-saving with the way in which the gaffer reacted to my collapse and initiated the CPR on the training pitch," said Wyke.

"I think that sends out a message of just how important it is that coaches and staff have that training."

Wigan winger Jordan Jones has also gone on record with praise for Richardson and Tobin.

He Tweeted: "The way the gaffa and the doc acted with Charlie was heroic no other way to describe it. I’ve known Chaz since we were 8 year old coming through at Boro and I’m so grateful he’s able to tell his story today and more importantly get home this afternoon to his amazing family."

Twenty-four hours after Wyke's medical emergency, Richardson took his team to Cambridge United where they recovered from a two-goal deficit to take a point.

The Leeds-born 42-year-old was once a season-ticket holder at Elland Road and comes from a family of Whites supporters.

Speaking to the YEP's sister title the Wigan Observer in 2018 he said: "Most of my family and friends are Leeds United fans."

“Howard Wilkinson was the manager when I started watching...David Batty, Gary Speed, Vinny Jones, Chris Fairclough, Gordon Strachan, Carl Shutt, Rod Wallace.

“Then my era, watching with a few friends, was Alan Smith, Jonathan Woodgate, Harry Kewell...when I was making my way in the game as well.

“Me, my dad and my brothers were all season ticket holders for many years. It was only when I started playing at Blackburn Rovers, and I couldn’t carry on going to games, that I gave mine up.

"It’s a one-club city, which ensures the affinity from everyone in the place. It’s very rare you see another football shirt than Leeds United walking around the city. The fanbase is huge, and you can see that with the way they’ve stuck by the club over the changes in ownership and relegations."

It was also Leeds United who provided the opposition for Richardson's professional debut as a player.

“I was lucky enough to make my professional debut for Blackburn against Leeds at Elland Road, which was pretty special,” he said.

“It was a dubious 1-0 loss...very, very dubious I have to say! Danny Mills was allowed to take a free-kick twice for some reason. The first one didn’t go in...obviously the second one did!"