Club to hold cardiac arrest awareness day

Leicestershire County Cricket Club is proud to be hosting a day to raise awareness about the problem of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and the importance of members of the public learning how to respond if they should witness an event.

The club has teamed up with the Heartwize charity and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT) to raise awareness and teach basic life support skills on Tuesday, September 6, the first day of the Specsavers County Championship game against Sussex.

Activities will focus on teaching people how to recognise a cardiac arrest and how to respond by immediately calling for help, starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and ensuring prompt access to an automated external defibrillator (AED).  These basic skills can greatly improve the victim’s chances of survival.

The majority of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home, so it is important that everyone in the community knows how to respond but events can be triggered by intense physical activity, so ensuring that bystanders in the sporting arena know how to respond is particularly important.

The day has been inspired by Steve Humphries, a huge supporter of sport in our region, who tragically lost his son Joe, who died whilst out jogging with a friend in October 2012.

It will be supported by Heartwize, a non-profit charitable organisation established by two local cardiologists, Dr William Toff, Associate Professor in Cardiology at the University of Leicester and Dr Doug Skehan, Consultant Cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital.

Heartwize is supported by a large team of volunteer healthcare professionals and others, who provide resuscitation training in secondary schools throughout Leicestershire. The Heartwize programme has also provided every secondary school in the county with an AED and guidance in its use.

Local secondary school pupils will be attending on the day. They will be trained in CPR and in the use of the defibrillator and they will demonstrate their skills during the lunchtime and tea intervals on the field, and in the Bennett Bar throughout the day.

Also during the day, there will be regular opportunities for the spectators to receive training in CPR and defibrillator use that will be delivered by volunteers from Heartwize. As they enter the ground, members and supporters will also be given a handy card, which fits neatly into a wallet or purse, with vital information on the basics of resuscitation.

Leicestershire CCC Head Physio Rob Leather said: “Leicestershire County Cricket Club is delighted to support this great initiative. Steve is a fantastic man and has supported sport in Leicester and Leicestershire for many years, so we are delighted to be able to give something back to him.

“It promises to be a fantastic day and everybody who comes along will learn a lot about the importance of CPR in sport.”

Steve said: “The day after Joe's death we found out that a minimum of 12 young people a week, 634 a year become SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) victims.

“The devastating loss of our son has been a real eye-opener as to the size of the challenge ahead but in memory of Joe, and the thousands who have gone before, the Leicester and Leicestershire public can be reassured that JHMT will never stop working to save young heartbeats, ensuring the message is loud and clear and that every child matters.”

Dr William Toff, Co-Director of Heartwize and Associate Professor in Cardiology at the University of Leicester, said: “The Heartwize training programme has initially focussed on schools, aiming to ensure that every pupil passing through secondary education in Leicestershire receives training in CPR and AED awareness. Over 15,000 young people have been trained in the last two years.

“We greatly welcome this opportunity to increase our engagement with the wider community and to provide training to spectators and all who are involved with Leicestershire CCC.”

For more information, please visit http://jhmt.org.uk and http://www.heartwize.org

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