Nine-year-old Jake Bacon was playing soccer when he told he his coach he was tired and came off for a rest.
Nine-year-old Jake Bacon was playing soccer when he told he his coach he was tired and came off for a rest.

Jake’s miracle survival: ‘I just thought he was buggered’

Jake Bacon could just be the luckiest kid alive.

The nine-year-old lived his entire young life with an undiagnosed heart condition that no one knew about until he dropped from a heart attack at a Saturday soccer game.

It was August 8 and the Bundaberg boy was playing for the U9 Bargara Bluebottles when he came off for a rest. As he left the field, Jake told his coach he felt tired and threw himself on the ground.

"I just thought he was buggered … but when I got over there he was non-responsive," Jake's dad, Josh Bacon, said.

"He was still breathing but he wasn't responding to my commands like 'Wake up Jake', 'Get up Jake', things like that. From there it was like, 'Crap, there is something really wrong here'."

A doctor watching the game rendered immediate assistance, but nobody knew what was happening. "None of us knew," Mr Bacon said. "The doctor was first to Jake … got him in a recovery position, got him breathing back properly again."

Jake Bacon has a rare and life-threatening cardiac condition. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Jake Bacon has a rare and life-threatening cardiac condition. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Jake was rushed from Bundaberg to the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane, where tests showed he had an extremely rare and life-threatening cardiac condition, due to his artery not joining to his aorta at birth.

"The specialist said we only ever find out about this problem when we do an autopsy and we find out it was the cause of death," Mr Bacon said. "Technically he did have a heart attack, when you get that level of troponin enzymes in your blood, essentially it's a heart attack. They didn't say it specifically but that's what they were treating it as. It was inevitable, it was going to happen no matter what it was just a matter of where and when."

Jake was put on bypass and underwent open-heart surgery just days after the discovery. He was discharged to go home in late August. His family are now awaiting the results of a stress test conducted in Brisbane on Thursday to see if there were any complications with the surgery or if Jake can start to resume his normal, active life.

Doctors are confident Jake will be player soccer again soon. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Doctors are confident Jake will be player soccer again soon. Picture: Jamie Hanson

The costs associated with Jake's medical treatment in Brisbane and time taken off from work has begun to put financial pressure on the family. Jake is one of five children - two of whom have moderate to severe medical needs including ADHD.

"I've been on leave without pay for the last three weeks, so we've had to sacrifice a fair bit just to pay the mortgage," Mr Bacon said.

While his parents are still nervous about the results due back next week, they are grateful their boy survived that day at his soccer game.

"If he had been out riding the dirt bike out of time, it would have been a completely different story, or even at home because we live about a half-hour away from the hospital," Mr Bacon said.

If the stress tests come back normal, doctors are confident Jake will be back playing soccer in no time.

"Obviously he will need ongoing medication and things like that but they are confident he will live a normal life, do what he wants and have a normal life expectancy now," Mr Bacon said.

A Go Fund Me has been set up by Jake's soccer coach to support the Bacon family.


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