Sudden Cardiac Arrest - that's the condition which only affects the elderly isn't it? That preys on those which live an unhealthy lifestyle? Similar to a heart attack?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest sadly is a condition of which no one can escape. Even the fittest, most capable athletes are at risk from suffering cardiac arrest, with the most notable cases even occurring on the pitch during Football matches - case and point Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers star who tragically suffered a cardiac arrest 43 minutes into a game against Tottenham Hotspur at just 23 years old.
Aware of the risk of cardiac arrest and the young and the risk athletes encounter when playing sport, the Ferring Youth Atoms Football Club took it upon themselves to purchase a life-saving defibrillator from defibshop, to help protect the team and other attendees at their matches against SCA.
A local newspaper ran their story of their fundraising efforts which came to defibshop's attention. Wanting to get involved, they got in touch with the young football club offering them £100 off each device they purchased to help them reach their goal of a heart safe football club as quickly as possible.
Now the club has two life-saving AEDs to take with them on away games and to have as a permanent fixture at their club, we chatted with Richard Hack, the coach of Ferring Youth Atoms to learn more about their thought process in becoming heart safe.
Hi Richard, Congratulations on becoming a Heart Safe club! How was it that you first become aware of defibrillators?
The coaches and parents of the football team had talked previously about the dangers of either a player or supporter having a cardiac arrest on or around the pitch, mainly brought to front of mind by articles in the press. There seemed to be a growing number of incidents and we felt it was our duty to try and protect our children, parents and any other teams playing nearby should such a horrible thing happen. From this, we looked into the safety measures and precautions that we could take and a defibrillator was one of the most talked about pieces of equipment that we didn’t have.
Did you know 12 young people die each week due to Sudden Cardia Arrest?
No, we didn’t realise it was that many although we were aware that it was on the increase.
What made you realise that you needed to be able to have access to an AED on your premises?
As previously said, we wanted to ensure that we had all the necessary equipment to hand (at the side of the football pitch) to ensure that we could protect our children and the parents around. A portable defibrillator has become one of those essential pieces of kit that we take everywhere with us.
What made you decide to purchase two defibrillators?
In order to raise the money for a defibrillator for our football team, we decided to do a sponsored walk on Halloween night over the South Downs. The team were asked to raise money for the walk and they all got behind it brilliantly and raised more than enough money for one defibrillator. The team then had a discussion and agreed that it would be a good thing to spend any extra monies that they had raised on providing a second defibrillator for the club which has several other teams playing in it. That way we could help protect the lives of even more boys, girls and parents.
Was there a particular reason you chose to purchase with defibshop?
Our story was printed in the local newspaper, the Worthing Herald and one of your salesman, Keith Webb contacted us directly to see if he could help us. We were impressed by his tenacity and offer to help us so we decided yours was the company we wanted to buy from.
What did you do to raise the funds for the life-saving device?
We organised a sponsored walk across the South Downs on Halloween night, everyone dressed up as ghostly ghouls and we scared each other, the animals and any unsuspecting rambler who was out in the dark! We had a meeting point at one of the car parks and played games; apple bobbing, hunt the jelly baby (in a bowl of icing sugar) and a topical quiz where the loser had to put their hand in a bucket of something very unpleasant (the content of which not only felt disgusting but smelt it also!). All activities and the walk were sponsored by our families and friends.
Have you or the team had any training to get to know the device?
We have not had any training on this particular device yet, however, two of the parents of boys in the team are qualified nurses and have had training themselves in the use of defibrillators. They are going to arrange for several of the parents and the coaches to be trained it its use.
Do you feel more confident now that you have the essential equipment to protect against cardiac arrest?
Yes definitely, knowing that we have the defibrillator on the touchline makes us feel very confident that we can help not only our team but also the opponents and anyone else for that matter who is on or around the pitch when we are playing.
Do you have any plans to help raise awareness of SCA in the young?
We have done as much as we can to date in terms of publicity in the local newspapers and with local clubs such as the Worthing Lions and will continue to try and raise the profile and issue locally whenever the opportunity arises.
Seeing more defibrillators readily available on football pitches is essential to help increase cardiac arrest within sport.
As the UK's leading independent supplier of life-saving AEDs, here at defibshop we're incredibly passionate on not only helping organisations, schools, sports clubs and other public locations become equipped with defibrillators, but to raise awareness of the immediate need of them also.
With the inclusion of defibrillators in more public locations, we can help to increase to survival statistics which surround cardiac arrest which currently stands at less than 10% if suffered outside of a hospital environment.
We're proud to have been able to assist FYAC Worthing Football Club to become Heart Safe and applaud their efforts in raising awareness and taking the essential precautions to protect their players as well as the supporters attending the game.