First Aid & Defibrillators
Defibrillators or Automated External Defibrillators (AED) have become a vital piece of equipment for football clubs, already saving the lives of players, referees, club officials and spectators in football around the world.
In cardiac arrest events, CPR is commenced and an AED is attached to the person’s chest to analyse the heart rhythm to determine if a shock is required to restart it. The AED determines if the person’s heart is in a “shockable rhythm” and if so, the machine delivers a shock to try and get the heart back into a normal rhythm. When the heart is restarted, the person will commence breathing on their own and may even become conscious again.
Modern defibrillators are designed to analyse the heart and only deliver a shock or advise to shock if a shock is required.
Included with most AEDs is a small kit bag containing items such as a razor (to remove chest hair on males), gloves, face mask for CPR breaths and scissors to cut the patient’s shirt and undergarments to enable quick access to the chest for CPR.
It is important to remember that a defibrillator is always used in conjunction with CPR.
Insurance Requirement for Clubs with Defibrillators
The public liability insurer for Football NSW and its affiliated clubs and associations (and their member clubs) has advised that clubs should ensure that a trained first responder (a person trained in using an AED) is in attendance while games are in progress should the club be required to us the AED.
The Importance of Checking your Club Defibrillator
Having a club AED is great, but making sure it will work when you need it is what is MOST important! Defibrillators are life saving devices and must be ready to use at all times. Clubs must regularly check that the AED Indicator shows that the machine is working and check if the battery or pads have expired. If your club has a defibrillator, ensure someone conducts regular recorded checks that the machine is operational, and remember, the electrode pads on the machine must be replaced if the AED is used.
Can lives be saved by defibrillators?
The use of a defibrillator in conjunction with effective CPR can help to save lives. A number of lives have been saved in football in Australia and around the world with early and effective CPR and use of a defibrillator.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Football – FIFA
- Responding to Cardiac Arrest – FIFA
- Defibrillators – Football Australia
- 3 simple steps to saving a life & FAQs
- How to recognise a cardiac arrest
Getting a Defibrillator for your Club or Team
Having an operational AED on hand significantly increases the chance of survival for people who have a sudden cardiac arrest. Choosing an AED & implementing an AED program at your club
Buying a Defibrillator and Grant Programs
- NSW Office of Sport – Club Defibrillator Grant Program – Applications for 2021 now closed.
- Michael Hughes Foundation – an approved Office of Sport provider and supporter of football, the MHF raises awareness of the benefits of CPR and early defibrillation and has donated and supplied over 200 defibrillators to Football NSW and many clubs and associations.
- Marc Arcuri Cup & Marc Arcuri Foundation – raising heart health awareness. The MAF has donated over 50 defibrillators to football clubs.
- Heartbeat of Football – Promoting the increased awareness of the importance of pre-participation health checks and early defibrillation.
- Hawkesbury Heartstart Program – a program that aims to increase the number of Defibrillators in the Hawkesbury community.
- Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation – working with clubs to raise awareness of cardiac arrest identification and early intervention.
Defibrillators can be mounted in a clubhouse or changerooms on a mounting bracket or in a cabinet. Where a defibrillator is purchased for a team, it can be kept in the team kit bag or mounted on a portable bracket adjacent to the centre line where is it easily accessible for both teams.
Defibrillator brackets and cabinets are available from most defibrillator suppliers. Cabinets can be lockable or non-lockable and some can also be alarmed so that an alarm sounds when the cabinet is opened. The type of cabinet required for your club will depend on where the defibrillator will be located, how secure it will be and how accessible you want it to be, as quick access to a defibrillator is vital in an emergency response.
FFA Concussion Guidelines set out the guiding principles regarding the management of concussion in football in Australia. All incidents of concussion are required to be treated in accordance with the FFA Concussion Guidelines including clearance by a Medical Practitioner and adherence to the Return to Play Program.
Returning to Play after Concussion
Return to play should be in accordance with Concussion Guidelines and include:
- a clearance by a qualified Medical Practitioner before a player can return to training or playing, and
- a minimum of 6 days before a player can play a competitive game – if return to play is managed by a Medical Practitioner
- a minimum of 14 days before a player can play a competitive game – if return to play is not managed by a Medical Practitioner.
If you have been injured contact your club regarding the process for reporting and recording your injury. Clubs should use an injury report form for recording participant injuries. A record of all injuries should be retained by clubs for insurance reference purposes.
Report form templates for clubs:
The Serious Injury Report form is used to report an injury to the FNSW insurers that results in a participant being admitted to hospital.
When to Call an Ambulance – Triple Zero (000)
In urgent medical situations it is most important that you ring Triple Zero (000) and ask for AMBULANCE. Do not panic or drive to hospital yourself. People driving themselves to hospital in urgent medical situations have often come to grief, not only risking further injury to themselves, but also to everyone else on the road.
Examples of medical emergencies:
- Sudden collapse
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Neck or spine injuries
- Injuries to the head or face
- Fractured bones
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Motor vehicle/cycle accident
NSW Ambulance Posters & Club Resources
NSW Ambulance paramedics are highly trained health professionals. They bring modern emergency and resuscitation equipment to the patient and commence lifesaving treatment at the scene as well as continuing this on the way to hospital.
- Triple Zero (000) Sport Venue – NSW Ambulance poster
- Triple Zero (000) What you need to know – NSW Ambulance poster
- Calling An Ambulance – NSW Ambulance poster
- NSW Ambulance Sporting Ground Wallet Card
Who pays for my ambulance bill?
The injured person is responsible for payment of any ambulance bill relating to their injury. The good news is that ‘ambulance’ is a claimable benefit under the FNSW Personal Injury Insurance and in most cases can be reimbursed once a claim has been lodged and a copy of the receipt from NSW Ambulance is provided. For more information go to Football NSW Insurance All claims and benefits are subject to the FNSW Personal Injury policy terms and conditions.
The physical benefits of playing sport are well known. Exercise can build stronger bones and muscles, help manage your weight, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce the risks of heart disease. There are also some huge mental health benefits to participation in sport, including to improve your mood, improve your concentration, reduce stress, improve sleep habits, boost your self-confidence, social benefits, learning the value of teamwork, developing leadership skills, learning how to deal with setbacks, and to build resilience.
Visit our Mental Health & Wellbeing webpage for more information