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Intense physical exertion during sport is a serious risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). An SCA can be lethal and occurs at any age or level of fitness. It’s often a complete shock as many athletes and their families are completely unaware of pre-existing heart conditions.

The Facts

  • SCA is the leading cause of death in young athletes – accounting for 75% of fatalities
  • More than 620,000 people in the UK have a faulty gene that puts them at risk of heart disease and sudden death from heart attacks or cardiac arrests. Due to undiagnosed conditions, the true figure could be even higher
  • Without immediate access to a defibrillator or CPR, 90-95% of victims will die
  • With each minute that passes, the chances of survival drop by 10%
  • Ambulances take, on average, 8 minutes to get to the scene. This could be even longer if it isn’t accessible by road, say, on a football pitch

Sudden cardiac arrest and sport

When playing sport, the human heart is working faster and pumping harder. It needs more oxygen than normal. Further pressure on the body during exercise includes dehydration and changes in temperature and electrolytes. This added stress can trigger the electrical system of the heart to beat dangerously fast or stop beating altogether.

Since sports place such a large demand on the heart, a nearby, on-site defibrillator could be the difference between life and death for young athletes.

Using a defibrillator in the first five minutes increases a person’s chance of survival to

The impact on your club

Nobody wants to experience the death of a player, coach, or spectator at their sports club. A lethal SCA is tragic and the effects on morale will be seen for years. Undiagnosed heart conditions can affect anyone and sudden cardiac arrest can strike at any time.

Preliminary action is required to safeguard the lives of your sporting community and prevent brain damage or death when an ambulance is unable to make it in time.

  • A nearby defibrillator
    An AED detects abnormal heart electrical activity and delivers an electric shock. It’s an essential life-saving tool for sporting clubs, giving nearby players, coaches, or spectators the opportunity to save a life.
  • Rapid emergency plan
    In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, time is not on your side. Every member of staff and player needs to be briefed on the signs of an SCA and where to locate the nearest defibrillator.

Saving lives in your sporting community

Most modern defibrillators are designed to be used by anyone.

  • Simple to operate
    Defibrillators are safe to use on the pitch or court. Coaches or facility users are guided by voice or visual prompts from the device through the whole ordeal from the moment it’s switched on. For even more assurance, training can be provided.
  • Safe
    The device will never shock an athlete whose heart is in a non-shockable rhythm. No one has to worry about causing any further harm.
  • Legally covered
    Rumours about the use of CPR or defibrillators are overexaggerated. Coaches or facility users cannot be sued for trying to save someone’s life with a defibrillator.

Next steps / More information

Due to the increased stress placed on the heart during sport, it’s critical for site managers and members of staff with a duty of care to athletes to install a defibrillator on-site.

By installing this device, you increase the chance of survival in the event of an SCA, and have peace of mind that you are doing everything in your power to keep your community safe.

More Info