A woman living with a disability has declared Rabbitohs great Sam Burgess “saved my life” after he came to her aid when she collapsed at South Sydney training last week.
Speaking exclusively to Wide World of Sports, 53-year-old Vicki Panos thought she was going to die when she suffered a medical episode while watching the Rabbitohs train at Redfern on Thursday.
“I was on the ground, distressed, it was so hot, my heart was barely beating and I thought, ‘This is it, I am going to die,” Rabbitohs tragic Panos, an epileptic who is legally blind, told WWOS.
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“Then Sam appeared from nowhere and held my hand, he brushed my hair out of my face and said, ‘You will be OK love, hang in there, we have an ambulance coming’.
“He gave me his own energy drink and that helped a lot.
“He refused to leave my side because he told me he used to nurture his late dad when he was struggling through pain.
“It gave me the strength to fight on. I was in and out of consciousness, but knowing he was there gave me the strength to fight on.
“He saved my life, no doubt about it.
“I’ve read a lot of bad things about him in the press but always thought he was a decent person… this just proves it.”
With her health issues, Panos decided recently not to go to Souths games anymore – even though she loves the team.
“But this has given me the will to keep going and I’ll be there this year,” she now says.
“Sam is a great human being – I would die for that man.”
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