HEROIC staff at Barnsley’s Metrodome have been hailed as lifesavers after a gym-goer suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest and defied slim survival rates whilst exercising in its gym.

Michael Rossi, 55, from Monk Bretton, was exercising at the gym when he began to feel ill.

After stepping off the treadmill and sitting down alongside it, he collapsed and ‘turned blue’.

His wife, Janet, told the Chronicle: “He went to the Metrodome’s gym as he does every day.

“He was on the treadmill and then fell ill he ended up sitting down next to it.

“The next thing he remembers is that he was being worked on by the staff about 25 minutes later.

“My husband had a cardiac arrest I remember him telling me that he loved me because he thought he was going to die.

“I’ve been told since that he went blue.”

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A cardiac arrest usually occurs suddenly and without warning with the person quickly losing consciousness.

Their heart stops, they will have no pulse and people experiencing a cardiac arrest often die within minutes if they do not receive treatment.

A heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest. In cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, less than ten per cent of people surviving.

But, thanks to the quick-thinking staff at the site, Michael is still here to tell the tale and is hoping to be discharged from the hospital in the next few days.

Janet wants to praise the staff who really did save Michael’s life on that day.

“I want the staff there to have some recognition because they really deserve it,” she added.

“I received a phone call from the staff who told me that he’d had a cardiac arrest.

“The first thing they did was grab the defibrillator they saved his life and I couldn’t be any more grateful.

“It’s something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Not many people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and I can’t thank them enough.

“I’ve been told that one of the first people on the scene was a 16-year-old lad they did absolutely everything they trained for and put it into practice. His heart must have stopped beating and without them he wouldn’t be here.”

Michael is now recovering in Barnsley Hospital and Janet said he is ‘doing well’ and the first thing he wants to do when he leaves is thank the staff.

“He’s doing well now and we’re hoping he’ll be discharged from hospital in the coming days.

“Mike wants to go and see them as soon as he leaves the hospital.”

The Metrodome staff who have been praised have been named as Gee Gee Mallows, Beckie Wright, Amanda Potter, Logan Johnson and Leanne Hinchcliffe.

A spokesperson from the site told the Chronicle: “We are proud of the staff involved. They instinctively followed their training and due to their efforts, managed to assist in saving the gentleman’s life.”

Local NHS bosses are encouraging residents to spot the signs of a cardiac arrest and a heart attack in a new campaign this week, and Janet admits the incident has made her more aware of where defibrillators can be found.

Professor Nick Linker, cardiologist and NHS clinical director for heart disease, said: “Cardiovascular disease causes one in four deaths across the country so it is vital that people are aware of the early signs of a heart attack.

“Every moment that passes during a heart attack increases heart muscle damage and nearly all of the damage takes place within the first few hours, so if you experience symptoms such as a sensation of squeezing or tightness across the chest alongside sweating, nausea, or a sense of unease, call 999.”