Clubs urged to tackle heart attacks
Sports bodies need to ‘‘get their act together’’ when it comes to installing defibrillators in clubs, a leading cardiologist says.
Professor Harvey White has been championing the widespread availability of automated external defibrillator’s (AED) for over 10 years.
New Zealand currently has around 6000 available but White believes the country needs 10,000 installed to be considered acceptable.
‘‘They should be in schools, rest homes, sports fields, maraes, churches, petrol stations, golf clubs, rotary clubs,’’ White said.
His reminder comes one year after Auckland footballer Geoff Brogan was brought back to life during a match at Western Springs - an event which spurred his football community into action.
Brogan remembers walking along the steps of his club, seeing a newly installed AED on the pillar, tapping it and saying, ‘‘That’ll come in handy’’.
Just months later, his heart stopped in the middle of a football match.
Had it not been for the AED Western Springs installed just months earlier, Brogan wouldn’t be alive today.
New Zealand Football had already been working towards an initiative that would result in AEDs spread throughout the nation, though Brogan’s episode highlighted the importance.
It rolled out a Smart Start - AEDs in Clubs programme in September last year which seeks to put AEDs in as many clubs as possible over the next three years - with a minimum of 180.
But while New Zealand Football is leading the charge, other major codes around New Zealand seem sluggish.
New Zealand Rugby head of community rugby Brent Anderson said it does not have any plans to roll out defibrillator kits to every club.
‘‘But we obviously encourage them to do this, themselves,’’ Anderson said.
For Brogan, his community has New Zealand Football to thank. He believes it takes a sports’ national body to get on board in order to achieve any real results.
‘‘I think that’s the solution for all the other codes,’’ Brogan said.
‘‘If they can have their international or national body on board, that’s the way to do it.
‘‘All you need is one and the whole thing is justified.’’
Heart attack survivor Geoff Brogan at the Western Springs Football Club where he suffered a heart attack and was saved by a defibrillator.