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Eriksen collapse sparks defibrillator drive in grassroots football

calendario 15.06.2021
by: Zach
  • Scotland
Eriksen collapse sparks defibrillator drive in grassroots football

As Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch, millions of football fans watched in horror, unsure whether the ex-Spurs star would live or die. Danish medics and medical equipment made the difference on the day, bringing Eriksen back from the brink with a single charge from a cardiac defibrillator. These agonising scenes thrust defibrillator resourcing into the footballing spotlight at every level, from international tournaments to the grassroots game.

BBC reporter Ollie Bayliss tweeted in the wake of Eriksen’s to remind non-league fans of the FA’s defibrillator requirements or lack thereof. According to Bayliss, the FA has no requirements for clubs under Step 4 to have a defibrillator. Spurred on by the ex-Spurs star’s pitchside cardiac arrest, organisers and charities are currently working to change the FA’s regulations.

Astley Mulholland, a player for the National League North West’s Glossop North End FC, launched a petition for defibrillators at all football grounds in the UK. Mulholland’s petition has already garnered over 60,000 signatures, due in part to his poignant and compelling story. As Mulholland outlines on the petition page, his brother, a fellow footballer, died following a cardiac arrest on the pitch. ‘If there had been the right equipment on site’, Mulholland recalls, ‘my brother might have survived’. Clearly, while Eriksen’s story earns the current spotlight, cardiac arrests at games occur regularly, and defibrillators could save lives at every level of football.

Alongside this campaign, charities like the Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation raise funds to donate defibrillators to clubs in need. The equipment costs around £1,375 plus vat, making defibrillators a sizeable investment for clubs already battered by pandemic restrictions. The JE3 foundation honours Newport County and Leyton Orient manager Justin Edinburgh, who died aged 49 on June 8, 2019. Under the guidance of its founder, Edinburgh’s son Charlie, JE3 has already donated life-saving equipment to clubs like Southend United and FC Rushden and Diamonds.

Astley Mulholland’s petition states that ‘the lack of life saving equipment and training at football grounds is a major downfall in grass roots and semi-professional football and I'm looking to change this’. With support from fans, neutrals, and authorities, campaigns like the JE3 foundation’s, and Mulholland’s petition look to make the grassroots game a safer place.

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