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AEDs In Sporting Areas

Published on 23rd November 2021

Ever since Christian Eriksen collapsed during the Denmark match against Finland in the 2020 Euro there has been a momentum building in the defibrillation space that can only be hailed as a success. Too many people die unnecessarily from sudden cardiac arrest because the truth is that the 10% survival rate could increase significantly to 70% if more people had access to a defibrillator within the first few minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest.

When 29-year-old Eriksen collapsed, it was partly down to sheer luck that he could be resuscitated as there were two cardiac specialists within the spectators who knew what to do to keep him alive until he was admitted into the hospital to receive the necessary cardiac treatment. If those two doctors had not been in the audience watching the game, Eriksen may not have been resuscitated and lived to tell his tale.

This isn’t an isolated story but luckily it was a high enough profile to attract media attention and create a massive wave of awareness of the importance of AEDs being installed in sporting arenas and public areas in general. 

‘Hero’ Doctor Helps To Save Newcastle Fan After Cardiac Arrest

More recently, an A&E consultant at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton was hailed a hero by fans after he performed emergency CPR on a fan who had collapsed during the game.

The patient was confirmed by Newcastle United to be stable and responsive after the game – this is down to fans acting quickly to raise the alarm so that the onsite medical professionals could start the defibrillation and compression which they knew had to be started immediately.

Tom Prichard, a hospital doctor took over the CPR being administered and said he hadn’t realised the game had stopped while he tended to the patient, but when he stood up after the fan’s recovery, there were 10,000 fans chanting ‘hero’ as he walked back to his seat.

“I do want to say, this wasn’t just me,” he said. “I had another doctor friend helping me out. St John’s [Ambulance] were brilliant, the Newcastle club doctor was there helping, so it really wasn’t just me. But what I will say is when I was walking back to my seat and 10,000 fans were chanting ‘hero’ at me, that was one of the best moments of my life.”

And rightly so – the entire arena would have been waiting with bated breath, especially as Eric Dier and Sergio Reguilón had also insisted the referee pause the game by making him aware of the emergency going on as there was no way they could concentrate on the game until they knew the fan was safe again.

Growing Awareness Of The Benefits Of AEDs

We would never wish a sudden cardiac arrest on anyone, but the fact that some high profile cases have been able to access life-saving defibrillation in the first few minutes of their sudden cardiac arrest has triggered action being taken to roll out the devices that will save lives in these type of arenas on a wider scale.

One such campaign is that of the Premier League who are now working together with the football foundation and FA and are providing defibrillators to 2000 grassroots football sites across the UK.

A premier league statement shared that “Working in partnership with the Football Foundation and The Football Association, the first phase of the Premier League Defibrillator Fund rollout will have AEDs provided to Football Foundation-funded facilities which currently are without a life-saving device onsite.

In the second phase, grassroots clubs that own their facilities will be able to apply for funding for a defibrillator. Together more than 2,000 sites will benefit from this investment, with the first 1,000 units delivered in time for the start of the 2021-22 season and the second batch expected in September.”

The grant recipients will need to have at least one person within their team who has completed the free online Sudden Cardiac Arrest course provided by the FA’s Education.

Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive added: “The traumatic incident we all witnessed when Christian Eriksen collapsed during Euro 2020 brings into sharp focus the need for defibrillators to be more widely available across the football community.

“The welfare of participants and all those involved in football is a priority and this fund will support many people using football facilities not just with the provision of devices but also the training required to use the equipment.

“Sadly, a sudden cardiac incident could happen anytime, anywhere, and we hope by enabling more facilities to have a device, it will make the difference in saving someone’s life.”

More Support From Famous Faces = More Awareness

Another publicised incident was that of Fabrice Muamba who was forced to retire from playing football after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch for Bolton in 2012 and welcomed the new initiative.

“I am a big supporter of the Premier League’s new initiative to fund defibrillators for thousands of grassroots football clubs,” he said.

“I know from personal experience the importance of having access to this type of medical equipment and how vital it is for someone’s survival after suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.

“Educating people how to use defibrillators is crucial. I really hope the clubs and facilities will encourage as many coaches, players and staff to undertake the training provided and help create safe places to play the game we all love.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “With the devices now accessible in a range of public places – from airports and shopping centres, to train stations and community centres – I’m very pleased that the Premier League is now ensuring that they will be available to protect footballers at a grassroots level.

“I urge clubs to take advantage of the Defibrillator Fund and FA’s training scheme, and give confidence to players that their health and welfare is the top priority.”

Case Studies Of Untrained Bystanders Saving Lives Now Coming In

The first time a life was saved by a bystander was reported to Defibtech who is the only company Martek Lifecare source our AEDs from. It occurred at the Hartsville YMCA in South Carolina when a member collapsed during a workout. 

Another YMCA member was able to successfully rescue the victim despite never having been trained on the Lifeline AED. This YMCA location had purchased the AED only weeks prior to the rescue. They had previously not owned an AED because they could not afford one

You Could Help To Save Lives Too By Installing AEDs On Your Premises

We are hearing more and more stories about the difference these devices are making, but the reality is that AEDs need to be accessible everywhere within the first few vital minutes

If you would like more information on how you can install AED devices at your sports club or how you can save lives from as little as 70 pence per week, get in touch here and our team will happily walk you through the various options available to you including rental and purchase of defibrillator packages.