Oldham assistant coach Brendan Sheridan has hailed the NHS doctors and nurses at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield after spending two weeks in intensive care with Covid-19.
The former Dewsbury Celtic coach and Sheffield player is now recovering at home following the ordeal, which he described as “massively scary”.
The 41-year-old father of three says he owes his life to the skill, commitment, courage and devotion to duty of the NHS workers after spending a fortnight in an induced coma and on a ventilator to help him to breathe.
Sheridan said: “It’s only now that I’m starting to realise how lucky I was and that I owe my life to the wonderful people at Pinderfields.
“At the same time I can’t stop thinking about the thousands who weren’t as lucky as I was.
“Every day I ask myself ‘Why me? Why do I deserve to be as fortunate as this?’
“I’m getting on with my recovery now and I’m slowly getting there.
“I’m doing a three-mile walk every day, but my battle is more of a mental one after everything that’s happened in the last few weeks.
“I never had many of the symptoms – just a sudden shortage of breath.
“It all happened so quickly.
“I seemed to be okay one minute and really struggling for breath the next.
“I can recall going in the ambulance and arriving at hospital, but I don’t remember another thing until I came round in the intensive care ward after what I later learned was two weeks in a coma.
“It was surreal.
“Bit by bit in the days after I woke up I started to piece together what had happened to me by talking to family, friends and hospital staff and then it struck home just how critically ill I had been.”
Sheridan has also revealed exactly how bad the impact of the virus was and he has urged people to follow NHS guidelines for the remainder of the pandemic.
He added: “When I came round from the coma I couldn’t function properly.
“I couldn’t write my name, text or dial numbers on the phone, but I’m coming along nicely now.
“I owe so much to the amazing doctors, nurses and the rest of the staff at Pinderfields, to my family and friends, and to all the people of the wider Rugby League community, especially from Oldham and from the Dewsbury and Batley areas, who have done so much messaging and given me so much support.
“A massive and heartfelt thank-you to you all.
“By all pulling together as a nation we can beat this thing, but we’ve still a way to go yet and we need to stick to social distancing and following Government guidelines for a while longer yet.
“There are signs we might be getting on top of it, certainly in hospitals, but we need to observe the guidelines as strictly as ever.
“We are so lucky to have the wonderful NHS behind us in these frightening and unprecedented times, but we can’t afford to relax or think the worst is over and we can go back to something like normality.
“We can’t, not yet.
“It isn’t worth it, believe me!”