A year ago this month, Fabrice Muamba, an English soccer player, collapsed on the field and remained “in effect dead” for the next 78 minutes. Fortunately, Muamba went on to make a complete recovery, though he did officially retire from soccer for the sake of his health a few months later.
Muamba had suffered a condition known as “sudden cardiac arrest,” sometimes brought on by intense exercise in people with preexisting heart problems. Since exercise is such a common trigger and those with preexisting heart problems are often unaware of their condition until their heart stops, it’s important to have defibrillators present in exercise facilities.
When a heart stops, research shows that those who receive a shock to the chest from a defibrillator within the first five minutes following their episode have the best chances of survival. Muamba received excellent medical care and, as a result, recovered, though most people who experience cardiac arrest aren’t fortunate enough to be in the presence of an AED or automated external defibrillator.
The Football Association in Britain and the British Heart Foundation are partnering to make sure that soccer teams across Britain have accessible AEDs. They are donating the money to provide over 900 defibrillators to women’s teams and non-league men’s teams. The two associations are splitting a contribution of 800,000 pounds for the AEDs, with the rest of the money required for the purchase of the AEDs coming from contributions.
This new initiative will also include CPR training for soccer players and coaches. Hopefully, these measures will help more incidents end as Muamba’s has, with a complete recovery.