Gallacher Returns to Golf Course Three Months after Cardiac Arrest
It was a story that could have had no happy ending, but thankfully former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher has returned to the golf course for the first time since having a life-threatening cardiac arrest.
The 64-year-old was rushed to hospital where he spent five days in an induced coma after collapsing right before he was due to deliver a speech at an Aberdeen hotel back in August.
Gallacher has started a campaign since his recovery to encourage all golf clubs to be equipped with automated external defibrillators, as the Scot believes the device, which costs around £1,000, saved his life that day.
Speaking at the project’s Wentworth launch, the three-time European skipper told BBC Sport: "I've played at Wentworth and I've been practicing hitting a few balls on the range.
"To be honest I think I have overdone it on a couple of occasions. I have to stay in the care of the doctors and do exactly what they say.
"When we talk about what happened to me, the same thing happened to Fabrice Muamba in football."
Muamba, who at the time was only 23 and playing for Bolton Wanderers, suddenly collapsed mid-game while playing for his team in the FA Cup last year.
"There was a perfectly fit young man, a footballer obviously monitored by his training team," said Gallacher. "Everything seemed in order and then he just collapsed in the middle of a game.
"He was lucky like me because there was a doctor around and they had a defibrillator at the football club."
Gallacher is a regular summariser for BBC Radio 5 Live and is convinced that lives will be saved far more regularly if golf clubs back his appeal.
The Scot is working with his wife Lesley to promote the campaign and has received backing from the PGA and European Tour.
Currently only 30% of golf clubs in the UK and Ireland have defibrillators, a startling fact made all the more grim when compared to how close Gallacher came to losing his life that day.
"Without early intervention, an individual has just a 5% chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest," he said. "Lesley and I felt it appropriate to try to ensure others are equally as fortunate as I was should they collapse in or around a golfing venue in future."