Clubs told to tackle heart at­tacks

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - SAMHEWAT

‘‘All you need is one and the whole thing is jus­ti­fied’’

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.

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.’’

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