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Thursday 28 August 2014

Defibrillator fund aids footballers

Published 18/03/2013 | 00:16

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Fabrice Muamba, 24, a former England under-21 star, collapsed on the pitch during Bolton's FA Cup quarter final against Tottenham

A £1.2 million defibrillator fund has been launched, a year on from Fabrice Muamba's near-fatal cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter final, to help save lives in England's football clubs and their communities.

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The Football Association (FA) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have teamed up so that more than 900 defibrillators will be at hand for non-league and grassroots football, from the Football Conference premier division to the County League and clubs in the Women's Super League.

It is hoped that many life-savers will be created as players, staff and fans can get access to the vital but costly equipment

Muamba, 24, a former England under-21 star, collapsed on the pitch during Bolton's FA Cup quarter final against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in March 2012.

His story is even more remarkable as only around one in 10 people normally survive a witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK, the BHF note.

Muamba's former England boss Stuart Pearce said: "There is no doubt how valuable these pieces of equipment can be, and if they save just one life then the investment is worth it."

The fund is being kicked off with an £800,000 donation. The charity is to match a £400,000 donation from the FA towards the cost of the defibrillators, with the final £400,000 made up of contributions from clubs.

Pearce said: "The investment of £800,000 from The FA and BHF makes it much easier for clubs to get their hands on a piece of kit that ordinarily would be too expensive for them.

"I think we all remember the moment Fabrice collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane and how that stunned the football world into thinking about these issues. It's important that football clubs take the opportunity to make sure we see more stories of survival in the future."

A defibrillator, also known as an Automated External Defibrillator or AED, gives the heart a controlled electrical shock during cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes without defibrillation chances of survival decrease by about 10%. Research shows that giving a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse provides the best possible chance of survival if CPR has been carried out as well, the BHF state.

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