The Manly Warringah Football Association has the perfect model when it comes to heart health awareness and defibrillator training.
For the past four years the MWFA has staged the annual pre-season Defib Cup and on Saturday a record number of 32 teams took part with 17 local clubs represented in the seven-a-side tournament.
Its not so much about who wins in the different age categories – Women’s O30s & 040s and men’s 035s & 045s – but the fact that senior players get the chance to be tested for blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels courtesy of Heartbeat of Football in partnership with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research institute.
On top of that, Cardiac Responder ensured that all clubs had their defibrillators checked as well as providing free training in how to respond in the event of a player suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
Some defibs were not in working order due to battery failure or issues with the pads. Its imperative your club ensures your defib is working and is also accessible at all times and not locked away.
This Event is the perfect Community model where it provided everyone with the opportunity to engage and learn more about the heart health space. In terms of the testing there was some alarming results. The VCCR nurses Clare and Kerry provided those tested with written reports on the spot. Those with high readings were advised to see their GP.
One must commend Terry Gatward and John Tansley from the MWFA for organising such a great Event along with their hard working volunteer team. Special mention also to John Haslam and his team of referees who also donated their time.
“Our Defib Cup continues to grow and its vital all clubs know what to do in the event of a heart issue at their ground,” Tansley said.
“It’s wonderful to see our MWFA volunteer defib team and the football Community unite as one on this initiative. Yes they come for the football but gain so much more particularly when you see that two players have been saved in two years.
“Last month Avalon seniors player Tony Smith had a lucky escape after collapsing during a pre-season trial game. His team-mate Dan Morley was the first to react while a defibrillator at the ground made all the difference.
“Tony had actually entered his team in the Defib Cup. It was great to hear from his President John Kowtan that he is recovering after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery,” Tansley added.
As the founder of Heartbeat of Football, this Community model is the best I have seen. I wish we could roll it out to all of the Associations in NSW and beyond. I will explore this avenue with Football NSW.
This year we have seen an unparalleled spike in heart attacks in pre-season. Four players – three of them in NSW in the last month alone – have been saved because of the quick reactions of people trained in first aid and the fact that defibrillators were on hand at every ground.
The NSW Government has previously pledged $4,000,000 over four years for the rollout of defibs.
This rollout will end on April 12 unless the funds have been exhausted prior.
Its imperative your club has a defibrillator. There are other ways of sourcing funding via Community club grants through your local licensed Leagues or RSL Club, your local Federal MP or local Council.
What price do we put on saving someone’s life?
Heartbeat of Football will once again be testing during the season at grassroots clubs. Covid issues restricted testing to just three days in 2020.
By Andrew Paschalidis – Heartbeat of Football founder