Christian Eriksen cardiac arrest leads to call for ALL Northumberland teams to have defibrillator

The use of a defibrillator to save the life of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen has highlighted the need for them at every level of the sport.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 2:14 pm
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 3:04 pm

That is the view of Dougie McEwan from The Stephen Carey Fund, the charity which has funded some 200 defibrillators across Northumberland.

"They are life-saving pieces of equipment and every football team from grassroots level up should have one,” said Dougie.

"What happened to Christian Eriksen is so sad but he had the best outcome possible because the medics at the match knew what they were doing and successfully revived him with a defibrillator.”

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Christian Eriksen of Denmark. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images)

Eriksen collapsed shortly before half time in Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match against Finland on Saturday.

The former Tottenham midfielder, who now plays for Inter Milan, was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by medics and then shocked back to life with a defibrillator.

It was later confirmed he suffered a cardiac arrest and he is now recovering at a hospital in Copenhagen.

The incident brought back memories of Stephen Carey who tragically died, aged 21, whilst playing football in July 2012.

Stephen Carey

He was playing a pre-season friendly match for Alnmouth when he rose to head the ball. He collapsed on landing and, despite the efforts of players, coaching staff and supporters, never regained consciousness.

It was later revealed that Stephen had an undiagnosed heart condition and this was likely to have been triggered during the exertions of the match.

In 2013, The Stephen Carey Fund was launched with the goal of providing free emergency first aid training to two representatives from teams in the North Northumberland Football League and Morpeth Sunday League along with a free first aid kit for each team.

Volunteers behind the project also set about raising funds and installing community public access defibrillators.

A Stephen Carey Fund defibrillator in Alnmouth.

"To date we’ve funded about 200 defibrillators in Northumberland, with about about 150 of those in cabinets at community venues – and we know that they have been used to save five or six lives,” revealed Dougie.

He hopes the Christian Eriksen case will now encourage others to learn life-saving techniques.

"Obviously it has highlighted the use of CPR and defibrillators,” said Dougie. "We believe it is important that everyone knows how to perform CPR.”

CPR is essential in that it takes over the role of the heart and ensures that body function is maintained so that when a defibrillator is utilitised the casualty has the maximum chance of survival.

A defibrillator is an electrical device, designed to be used by an untrained person, which is able to assess heart rhythms and where appropriate deliver a dose of electrical energy to the heart which actually stops the abnormal rhythm and allows the bodies natural pacemaker to restart the heart into a “normal” rhythm.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an abrupt loss of pulse and consciousness caused by an unexpected failure in the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood to the brain and around the body. It is usually caused by abnormalities in the heart’s electrical system.

The sudden cardiac arrest victim first loses his or her pulse, then consciousness, and finally the ability to breathe. Without immediate treatment, 90-95 percent of SCA victims will die. The only definitive treatment is defibrillation.

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