Neil 'Razor' Ruddock reveals how he 'died' on operating table

Former Premier League hardman Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock reveals how he ‘died’ on operating table during emergency heart surgery

  • Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock required heart surgery to solve a long-standing condition 
  • The retired footballer, 52, revealed how he almost died on the operating table
  • Ruddock claims he was ‘technically dead’ for several seconds in the procedure
  • He had resting heartrate of 130 beats per minute – double the normal number

Former Premier League star Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock has revealed how he ‘technically died’ on the operating table during emergency heart surgery.

The retired defender, 52, had a resting rate of 130 beats per minute – instead of 60 or 70 – and required a procedure known as a ‘cardioversion’ to fix the issue before having a pacemaker fitted. 

Ruddock, who played for Premier League clubs including Liverpool, West Ham and Tottenham, admitted the problem arose after years of heavy drinking but insists the surgery saved his life. 

Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock has revealed how his heart stopped on the operating table during surgery

Ruddock had a resting heart rate of at least 130 beats per minute before the operation

The defender enjoyed a Premier League career with West Ham among other top clubs

The dad-of-four told the Daily Star: ‘At my worst I was crazy. I was doing three or four ­bottles of wine a day, easy-peasy, plus spirits, beers, cocktails.

‘Before I could get my pacemaker I had to have my heart zapped to slow it down.

‘They zap it seven times. If your heartbeat doesn’t return to normal after seven times, you’re in trouble.

‘Mine came back the third time they did it – but it stopped and I was technically dead for several seconds.’  

The heart condition was brought on by years of heavy drinking by the renowned hardman

Ruddock, who retired in 2003, was only made aware of the problem during a health check-up before filming TV show Harry’s Heroes. 

He added: ‘Harry’s Heroes sent me to a heart surgeon to check everything was alright because I was getting dizzy just running upstairs. I thought, ‘Oh, no, it could be brain trauma after heading too many footballs’. But they found it was from my heart beating too fast, so that was a big wake-up call.’  

Ruddock feared he had suffered dementia after heading so many footballs during his career

Ruddock, who has two daughters Pebbles and Kizzy with wife Leah, admitted the pain of the operation was the worst he had experienced in his life.  

‘You’re awake when they fit it,’ said the former centre-half. ‘They numbed my heart area then they did it – it was the worst pain of my life.

‘I could see the surgeon pushing it in and it was quite daunting. I was on my own, but 

‘I had a great German surgeon, who had a great sense of humour and put some disco music on to help me.

‘It hurts so much and sometimes it doesn’t take. I was just wanting it to work because I didn’t want to go through that pain again.

‘The doctors said, “We got you just in time”. I’m just glad I didn’t have dementia from heading too many balls.’ 

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