Family of Limerick boy who suffered cardiac arrest during soccer match thank heroes who saved him

Eaileljohn Sabu and his brother Ewan John Sabu from Newcastle West on board one of the fire engines attached to Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service. Photo: Baker Photography.

THE FAMILY of a Limerick boy whose heart stopped while playing a juvenile soccer match said his coaches and emergency first responders who saved him are true heroes.

13-year-old Ewan John Sabu collapsed while playing for his local soccer team, Newcastle West Football Club, in February.

However, the quick actions of his coaches, Mícheál Reidy and Niall McEnery, who immediately contacted the emergency services and started CPR on Ewan, kept him alive until emergency services arrived and took over at the traumatic scene.

The emergency teams were able to restart the boy’s heart and bring him to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) where he was stabilised before being transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin for further treatment.

Ewan’s mother, Sandhya Parameswaran, a nurse at Dromcollogher and 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, but they reassured me that he was sedated, he was stable, and that they were bringing him to hospital in Limerick.”

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Gardaí escorted Ms Parameswaran to UHL and family friends brought her husband Sabu John, who was leaving work in Adare at the time, to meet them at the hospital.

“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,” said Ms Parameswaran.

“It is thanks to them that Ewan is now back at Scoil Mhuire agus Íde, where he is a first year student,” she added.

A massive multi-agency response was launched when Ewan’s coaches dialled 999 at the scene, which included volunteers from CRITICAL West Limerick Community First Responders (CFR), who were first on the scene, the National Ambulance Service, Gardaí, Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service, Templeglantine CFR, an off-duty Red Cross Emergency Medical Technician, as well as a paediatric team of medics who had been returning to University Hospital Kerry from Crumlin Children’s Hospital at the time.

David Tighe, CEO of the CRITICAL charity, praised all those involved in saving Ewan, who was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition afterwards, saying their work was “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.”

Ger O’Dea, community engagement manager at the National Ambulance Service, also paid tribute to those involved and “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 (automated external defibrillator)”.

The CRITICAL charity has a growing network of responders operating in cities, towns, and villages – including doctors, medical professionals, and local community leaders – who are tasked with responding to serious incidents and emergencies in their areas.

For more information on becoming a CFR, visit To make a donation to CRITICAL, visit