Better equipped to save a life

Necessity: Tailem Bend Football Club president Tony Hughes believes having a defibrillator is part of the club's commitment of looking after the wellbeing of players, supporters and volunteers. Photo - Dylan Hogarth.
Necessity: Tailem Bend Football Club president Tony Hughes believes having a defibrillator is part of the club's commitment of looking after the wellbeing of players, supporters and volunteers. Photo - Dylan Hogarth.

Having the right equipment on hand could be the difference between life and death - just ask footballer and cardiac arrest survivor Max Schinckel.

Earlier this year, Max was running around a football oval in Loxton when he collapsed during training.

The 22-year-old was participating in a team drill when he lost consciousness.

An ambulance was called and paramedics shocked him twice with a defibrillator before he was taken to hospital and then flown to Adelaide for specialist treatment.

He spoke to Naracoorte Herald editor Lee Curnow about his ordeal and why his experience highlighted the need for sporting clubs to have a defibrillator.

Max said he was lucky because he was training in Loxton and an ambulance was stationed close by.

But the result could have been different if he was playing at a ground which was located further out of town or one which did not have a defib machine.

"I think it would be stupid (for clubs) not to have one really, after that," he said.

"If you've got one within five kilometres or right there it could make all the difference, especially if there isn't one for 30 kilometres."

There have been many incidents in which players, volunteers, supporters and spectators have suffered a heart attack across fields and courts across South Australia.

Which is why the Tailem Bend Football Club has purchased a defibrillator.

President Tony Hughes said the club was quick to secure a defibrillator as it was a requirement of the River Murray Football League that all participating clubs had one by 2019.

"We bought one last season and did so with the help to a West End grant through SANFL - they gave us $1000," he said.

"If we have a cardiac episode, our first aid personnel will be well equipped to handle it."

The State Government is highlighting the importance of sporting clubs and associations making the decision to purchase a defibrillator.

Clubs can apply for funding to purchase an automated external defibrillator (AED) through the latest round of the Active Club Program, which will open next month.

Minister for Recreation and Sport Corey Wingard said applying for funding of an AED would help local communities.

"A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere," Mr Wingard said.

"And when it does, an immediate response can mean the difference between life and death.

"We know that the chances of survival are greatly enhanced by following the simple directions of the defibrillator.

"Three simple steps - call, push and shock - can save the life of someone you know and love."

Mr Wingard said AED prices varied with a standard cost of about $2500 to $3000 with the unit being available to register with SA Health at no extra cost which allows callers to be directed to the nearest device in an emergency.

In an emergency people should call Triple Zero (000) and if a patient is not breathing CPR should be started.

Active Club grants are available for up to $5000 and can be used for costs which will improve the services of the club such as equipment, uniforms and capital works.

For more information on the Active Club Program visit https://www.ors.sa.gov.au/funding/apply_for_funding/active_club_program

Applications for the next round of available grants opens on August 7, 2019 and closes on September 25, 2019.

This story Better chance for survival first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.