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Published in Sports Management Nov Dec 2016 issue 128

The importance of AEDs in sport centres

Retired footballer Fabrice Muamba (right), who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an 
FA Cup match in 2012 with Andrew Deaner (left), one of the men who saved his life / olesia bilkei / shutterstock
Retired footballer Fabrice Muamba (right), who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup match in 2012 with Andrew Deaner (left), one of the men who saved his life/ olesia bilkei / shutterstock
Francesca Wilson,

Creative coordinator,

Defibshop


Recent years have seen automated external defibrillators (AEDs) become more accessible in public locations across the UK. Found everywhere from train stations to football stadiums, awareness of this device and its life-saving abilities is on the rise.

Currently, 30,000 people in the UK die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), yet it is still not a government requirement to have these devices installed in public locations, sport arenas or even schools.

Numerous cardiac arrests have occurred during sporting events, most notably in 2012 where Fabrice Muamba collapsed suffering cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match. Fabrice was saved thanks to quick access to a defibrillator which delivered a number of shocks to his heart, ultimately saving his life.

The risk of SCA is three times greater in competitive athletes, which is why quick access to a defibrillator is vital to protect the lives of those competing in sporting events.

Thanks to the clever design of these devices, just about anybody can use an AED to save a life. Simply pressing the power button or opening the lid will activate the defibrillator, initiating a sequence of visual and vocal prompts to guide the user through the entire rescue process.

With every passing minute, a victim’s chances of surviving an SCA decrease by 10 per cent. CPR, along with the shock of an AED can increase chances of revival from just 6 per cent to 74 per cent if delivered within the first three to five minutes after collapse.

This is why the most important way to protect the lives of those competing in sports isn’t with shin guards, gloves or a helmet but with the investment of a defibrillator – the only definitive treatment against cardiac arrest.

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