Paul Hallas, 34, was training in the gym and playing rugby multiple times a week in 2019 - but a ‘shock’ heart attack left him in tears at the hospital wondering if he’d ever play the sport he loved again.
He had suffered a SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) - where a tear appears in the wall of the main artery which supplies blood to the heart.
Paul told the Chronicle: “It was such a shock - I was playing rugby at the time and I had a few niggles in my chest on the pitch.
“As it’s a contact and tough sport I didn’t think anything of it - I went to work later that evening because I was on nights and the chest pains started to come back.
“I had a couple of days off training where I didn’t do anything but then we were getting trained by a professional rugby player and so I put a lot of effort into it.
“The pains started to come back - it was unbearable so my mum phoned 111 and they sent out an ambulance.
“I had to go to Sheffield Hospital for a week and I was told that I’d had a SCAD heart attack which is a blockage in my main artery.”
A SCAD is more common in women, especially during pregnancy, but Paul wants to raise awareness that it can happen to men too - and it even happened to his brother Steven.
“I was absolutely terrified when it happened because I just thought that my whole world was crashing down,” he added.
“I was in tears and I didn’t think that I’d ever be able to do the things I loved again.
“It was a shock to me but this can happen to men who train a lot and because of things going on in my personal life I kind of just threw myself into training.
“This same heart attack happened to my brother five years ago and he’s back to doing fitness now.
“Six months after my heart attack and I was back running again and this March I started rugby training.”
But it’s not been plain sailing since as he’s suffered a broken wrist and most recently a ruptured bicep - though he says he’s going to complete his half-marathon later this month, even if he has to crawl it.
“I decided that because I was doing a lot of running that I would challenge myself even more and run a half-marathon - but I wanted to give something back as well so I’m raising money for SCAD research,” Paul added.
“I’m going to be doing it on September 11 and I didn’t even think that I’d raise £100 but I’ve managed to raise £655 so far.
“I’m really proud of myself to say how far I’ve come since the heart attack.”
To donate, search for Paul Hallas on justgiving.com.