Sam Burgess is one of the biggest names in English rugby league still despite his retirement from the game being over three years ago now.
The 34-year-old former Bradford Bulls and South Sydney Rabbitoh legend was one of Super League’s best ever exports as he went on to play over 170 games in the NRL, sandwiching a stint in rugby union.
A Bunnies’ icon, he led the side to their Grand Final victory in 2014 despite having broken his cheekbone in the first carry of the game.
Slammin’ Sam is certainly a hero to many and that list got one person longer this week as he attended to a woman suffering a medical episode during the Bunnies’ recent open training session.
Vicki Panos, 53, was watching the team’s training session on Thursday when she fell ill which prompted Burgess to step in and help her, something she now claims saved her life.
Speaking to WWOs in Australia, Panos revealed: “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.
“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.”
Panos, who is legally blind and suffers from epilepsy, recalled that she had decided recently to no longer attend Rabbitohs’ matches on account of her health, however, the act of Burgess potentially saving her life has prompted a change of heart.
“But this has given me the will to keep going and I’ll be there this year, Sam is a great human being – I would die for that man.
“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.”