Thinking back to the moment Sam Murdock collapsed during a routine swimming lesson is tough on his whole family.

Then just eight, nobody had any idea the sporty youngster had been born with a rare and life-threatening heart condition.

“He went into the pool and was doing his lesson,” recalled mum Helen Murdock.

“I heard the teacher shout his name, then he just rolled back in the pool. He was unresponsive.

“One lad jumped in and got him out but he was unconscious for six minutes. He was breathing, but not responding to anyone. He started to come round, then went again for about four minutes.”

A nurse herself, Helen was quickly at Sam’s side. An ambulance was called, but it couldn’t get there quickly enough due to roadworks near to the Wigton swimming baths.

With no time to waste, she took the decision to drive him straight to hospital herself.

“I just wanted to get him to A&E quickly,” said Helen.

All the time his younger sister Imogen was in the next pool and watched it all unfold.

“I still remember it a lot. It was really scary,” she said.

Sam was looked after by A&E and cardiology staff at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

He was then moved to the children’s ward while staff spoke to specialists at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where he was eventually transferred to.

Helen and husband Stephen were frantic with worry. For a few days all they knew was that it was a cardiac issue, but after various tests he was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome - a relatively rare but serious condition that can lead to sudden heart failure.

“You’re not a nurse when it’s your child. You’re just a worried parent. That’s how it felt - a feeling of absolute terror. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

“That first night in the Freeman I actually felt physical terror. I couldn’t sleep at all and they had to get a nurse to me in the night because I was having a kind of panic attack,” said Helen.

It didn’t end there. With the diagnosis came a new kind of worry - about the future and what was in store for Sam in future.

Long QT syndrome is also genetic, so the whole family had to be tested. It turned out both Stephen and his dad have been living with it all their lives, completely unaware their heart could just stop, without warning.

The condition relates to an electrical fault in the heart, which means the beats can get out of sync - resulting in palpitations, fainting and sudden death.

For Sam, now 10, it has meant big changes to his life but also

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He takes medication to help regulate his heartbeat, but there is still a constant risk. As a result, he now carries a heart-starting defibrillator everywhere he goes and all staff at his school - Thomlinson Juniors in Wigton, where the family live - have received training in how to use it.

However the hardest part has been having to take a step back from some of the activities he loved - including football, hockey, swimming, squash and running.

But with support, he still manages to enjoy some sports - particularly cricket, which he now plays four times a week.

“I was pretty sad at first because I couldn’t do things,” said Sam. “But now I’m fine. I really love cricket, so that’s good.”

Helen said they’ve been amazed at how well he’s adapted.

“He’s so brave. He’s just been amazing,” she said.

“At first you feel a bit lost. But we thought we are definitely not going to focus on what he can’t do. We’ll focus on what he can do - and support him to do it safely.

“We now feel we are lucky, to have the outcome we have had and to now know that he has this. A lot of people don’t know about it until it’s is too late.”