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Perth launch to prevent sporting tragedies

Perth launch to prevent sporting tragedies
June 22, 2012

Under a new Western Australia program advocating the early use of defibrillation in sport, Perth Football Club has become the first in the state to purchase a defibrillator to ensure sudden cardiac arrest tragedy is prevented.

The Defib Your Club, For Life! program, a not for profit organisation established to help reduce the number of cardiac related deaths at sporting venues, was launched in Perth with the assistance of Sports Medicine Australia WA Branch (SMA WA) who will provide training to all clubs that purchase a defibrillator through the program.

Andrew White, an ambulance paramedic for over 20 years and Founding Director of Defib Your Club, For Life! said the evidence for the need and effectiveness of defibrillators within sporting clubs was compelling.

White explained "statistics show that one in every 1,000 persons has an undiagnosed heart complaint, and a cardiac arrest can occur without prior warning signs or symptoms. About 30,000 Australians die of sudden cardiac arrest each year.

"With automatic defibrillators being more readily available we can begin to reduce the number of preventable deaths."

SMA WA spokesperson, Professor Alexandra McManus commended Perth Football Club who have been proactive and equipped themselves with a defibrillator however says more clubs need to take their lead.

Professor McManus explained "currently early defibrillation seems to be the weakest link in Australian sporting clubs.

"Defibrillators make a big impact in the crucial moments following cardiac arrest. It should be a no-brainer that to provide the upmost safety to players at sporting clubs defibrillators are needed. How many more tragic outcomes need to occur before this is realised?

"By Sports Medicine Australia WA Branch providing all clubs who purchase defibrillators with training on how to use them we hope this will instill confidence among sports personnel and educate them on how to react when an adverse event occurs."

White said he hoped clubs realise the importance of defibrillation, concluding "for every minute that passes following sudden cardiac arrest there is about a 10% decrease in survival rate. By 10 minutes there is only a very remote chance of survival.

"The earlier a person receives defibrillation, the higher the chance of survival, therefore early intervention is most likely to have the best outcome.

"Sporting clubs need to be empowered to react to their own cardiac emergency armed with the appropriate equipment, skill and understanding to do so prior to ambulance arrival."

Both Sports Medicine Australia and Defib Your Club, For Life! said the message to sporting clubs was simple, "the more defibrillators out there, the more lives that will be saved."

Sporting clubs that participate in the Defib Your Club, For Life! program will receive:

• A cardiac science defibrillator unit, protective case and a wall-mounting bracket (at a reduced cost);
• A set of adult and child under 8 defibrillator pads;
• An accessory kit, facemask, scissors, razor and protective equipment;
• Instructional DVD;
• A face-to-face club-training program incorporating CPR and defibrillator instruction;
• Automatic defibrillator location signs;
• Laminated wall instruction poster;
• A structured delivery and maintenance process;
• A maintenance schedule that includes the replacement of batteries and defibrillator pads for the life of the seven-year program, at no extra cost;
• A seven year warranty on the unit;
• 24 hour service contact details;
• Registration of the unit with the 000 register. This allows for a 000 operator to talk any user through the procedure when required;
• Access to a crisis-counselling advisor.

Click here for more information on Defib Your Club, For Life! 

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