A few years ago, while playing in our regular Monday evening social mixed doubles comp, one of my team members, Malcolm* collapsed on court having suffered a cardiac arrest. He was 47, with no previous history of heart disease. Not long after, my daughter was diagnosed with a particular heart arrhythmia that has been associated with sudden death during exercise. Malcolm’s life was saved because the tennis club had an Automated External Defibrilltor (AED), and, together with prompt CPR, the AED was used within two minutes. The AED was available, and people knew how to use it: otherwise he would have died that evening. AEDs are the only known device that stops chaotic electrical heart activity and allows the heart to re-establish itself to a normal rhythm.
Today Malcolm is back at work and plays tennis regularly. Since these events I have become interested and aware of programs aimed at fitting all sporting clubs with AEDs and I am proud to say that RRC has been successful in obtaining an AED through this grant system.
The survival rate from cardiac arrest is about 6-8 %, but when AEDs are available it can rise to 35-45%. Time is critical. You cannot do any harm when someone is having a cardiac arrest as they would die if there is no intervention. The minimum ambulance arrival time is 9 minutes., but brain damage starts after 3-4 minutes. This can be avoided if people recognize cardiac arrest, start CPR and use an AED. AEDs are portable and designed to be used by virtually anyone to save a life. Defibrillation within 3 minutes increases the chance of survival from 5% to over 70%.
The AED will be installed on August 15th at 6.30pm and club members are invited to come along and learn how to use the AED. Instruction will also cover first aid measures for sprains, strains, use of slings, management of near drowning, CPR and how to use an AED. Members are invited and strongly urged to come along! Once you are aware of them, you will start to notice AEDs everywhere you go. Please let me know if you plan to attend as numbers are limited to 20 people: reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may never be called upon to use one, but let me tell you, if you are involved in saving a life because you knew CPR and knew how to use an AED- it’s a pretty cool thing to do.