Football in NSW has a problem. In the last two years, 12 footballers have died in NSW from cardiac related incidents.
Many of those lives may have been saved if a defibrillator was on the field.
One of those deaths was Forest Rangers' over 35’s footballer Matt Richardson, who at the age of 43, left behind a wife and three children when he collapsed on the field.
A defibrillator was not on hand when Richardson suffered his cardiac arrest.
Had one been on hand it could have raised his chances of survival.
In the event of a heart attack, CPR can give a person a two to five percent chance of survival, but with a defibrillator, depending on the condition, it could increase survival by as much as 70%.
Former SBS presenter Andy Paschalidis was Richardson's teammate and was on the field in June 2015 when CPR attempts failed to save him.
Inspired by that event, Paschalidis started the not-for-profit Heartbeat of Football.
The organisation aims to promote healthy hearts in sport via player education, the minimisation of health risks and the instillation of defibrillators at all sporting fields around the country.
This mini documentary shows Paschalidis at work in trying to achieve his mission. It also features former Socceroo Peter Katholos and Gosford amateur footballer Nathan Mark’s story of heartbreak and survival.
With the support of Socceroo Tim Cahill, as well other Australian sporting greats from Basketball, Netball, Rugby League, Cricket and Swimming, Heartbeat of Football is raising awareness of the need for these lifesaving devices.
Senior representatives of the National Rugby League, Australian Rules football, Cricket and Netball have already called for defibrilators to be rolled out across the states.
Photo by Loopii