“WILL it happen again?” was not really a problem in my mind. The toughest bit mentally was dealing with my first touch being a bit off!”

Pablo Martinez made his competitive comeback for Chippenham Town on Saturday – just eight months after suffering a cardiac arrest during the club’s National League South game against Chelmsford City.

While the Bluebirds’ had to make do with a 2-2 draw at home to Tonbridge at the weekend, the whole of Chippenham celebrated a mammoth victory in seeing the talented midfielder wearing a blue shirt once more.

Since the incident, the former Bristol Rovers player shared he has been through multiple tests to ensure he could safely return to football, attempted to become “the best walker possible” during his recovery, and put on all the weight he had lost while away from the game.

Admitting the whole process regarding his return had taken “longer than expected”, Martinez began to train with his teammates again just a matter of weeks ago having taken part in warm-ups at training every Thursday since January.

The 22-year-old then started passing drills before taking part in pre-match warm-ups in order to “get used to the crowd and being at the place where it happened.”

All of that culminated in his stoppage-time introduction on Saturday. Describing the moment, Martinez said: “I was really nervous to come on. But when something makes you nervous, often it’s the best thing to do, so I said: “I’m going to do it.”

“I was more preoccupied at first with making sure I did everything right for the team because that’s an instinct that I have.

“As a footballer, your main priority – as much as you try to enjoy it – is to do your job properly.

“When the final whistle went, I had mixed emotions. There was relief because I didn’t do anything stupid on the pitch, but also happy and that anxiousness went away. I was really able to take it in properly with the crowd cheering for us, which was nice.”

The next steps for Martinez in his gradual comeback will be pre-season and ensuring he can play a part in the Bluebirds’ next National League South campaign.

With the physical side in hand, many would assume the mental scars would have been tougher to heal. But the Bluebirds’ midfielder insists the opposite is true.

He said: “For me, “will it happen again?” was never really too much of a problem because I ran a lot and also I have the safety of the ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) in there.

“That wasn’t the hard bit. The hard bit for me was mentally dealing with, when you go back, your first touch being a bit off and you’re not as fit as you were before.

“Things like that were annoying for me, but the club were brilliant with me. The sport scientist at Chippenham, he was excellent for me. He could gauge what I needed to do and he created this bespoke plan for me.

“Everything was tailored to what I needed – without that, it would have been very hard to come back. From the people who own the club to the volunteers on a match day, everyone has made it so much easier for me to come back, and I’m so grateful to them.”