The 52-year-old was told to have a pacemaker – but before that could happen, he had to have an operation where his heart was “zapped” several times.
However, his heart stopped during the procedure – known as cardioversion – and he was “technically dead for several seconds.”
Ruddock, who has played in defense of Liverpool, Tottenham, West Ham and Southampton, has been told he needs surgery after years on alcohol benders.
“At worst, I was crazy,” the father of four told the Daily Star. “I made three or four bottles of wine a day, easy to drink, plus spirits, beers, cocktails.
“Before I could get my pacemaker, I had to zap my heart to slow it down.
“They zapped him seven times. If your heart rate does not return to normal after seven times, you are in trouble.
“Mine came back the third time, but it stopped and I was technically dead for several seconds. ”
Ruddock underwent the procedure after doctors discovered that his resting heart rate was at least 130 beats per minute – when it should have been around 60 or 70.
He said, “They also found out that my heart had stopped for seven seconds every night.
“Just going up the stairs, it had to be 140 or 150 beats per minute – it’s a workout pace. He returned to 60, 70 or 80 times at rest. ”
He didn’t find out about his dangerous health until he was sent for a medical check-up during the filming of Harry Heroes, who is following a team of retired football stars tackling the issues that affect their lives. life.
During one episode of the show, Ruddock could be seen arguing with former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson, who told his friend that his drinking was “out of control” .
“Harry’s Heroes sent me to a heart surgeon to check on everything because I was getting dizzy just going upstairs,” he said.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh, no, it could be a head trauma after throwing too many footballs.’ But they found it came from my heart beating too fast, so it was a great awakening. ”
After surviving the initial operation, Ruddock was accelerated to have the pacemaker installed – which he said was the most painful experience he had ever experienced.
“You are awake when they suit you,” said the former central half. “They numbed my heart region and then they did it – it was the worst pain of my life.
“I could see the surgeon pushing him and it was pretty intimidating. I was alone, but I had a great German surgeon, who had a great sense of humor and put on disco music to help me.
“It hurts so much and sometimes it doesn’t take. I just wanted it to work because I didn’t want to suffer this pain anymore.
“The doctors said, ‘We got you just in time.’ I’m just glad I didn’t get dementia from running too many balls. ”
Ruddock, who has two daughters Pebbles and Kizzy with his wife Leah, said the stakes were so high before his surgery that he made a will.
But he said, “I knew I would be fine – I have a pretty cheerful demeanor and I am a brave boy. Nothing really hits me. ”
After the coronavirus lockdown is complete, Ruddock, who hung up his boots in 2003, is eager to speak again after dinner, which is organized through his agent Tony Clarke’s football speaker company.
“Over the past 10 years, the buzz of making these speeches has replaced the buzz of winning a soccer game – I love it,” he said.
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“I want to continue doing it and I want a long life.
“And I still have a good life ahead of me – a lovely wife and beautiful children. ”
Ruddock is now taking reservations for motivational discussions or video chats via soccerspeaker.co.uk
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