How an ordinary netball match in 2014 ended in heartbreak…
Twenty-seven year old Beth Leske was playing a typical game of netball with her team, Fairy Meadow, in Berkeley, Wollongong when she suddenly slumped to the ground.
The young mother had shown no signs of being unwell and despite attempts to revive her, she died in hospital. Paramedics confirmed that she had suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Unfortunately, Beth’s story is not uncommon in Australia. Thousands of people don’t realise that they may have a condition that can cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest. In many cases, the first symptom of this disease is death.
To put it into perspective, around 20,000 Australians die every year of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest experienced out of hospital, many of these seemingly healthy young people and adults. This means that 10% of all deaths in Australia are the result of this condition. Sadly, these statistics show no signs of decreasing, even though other heart-related issues have declined in recent years.
Current Australian Sudden Cardiac Arrest statistics show that this medical emergency can target people of all age groups, even young people who may consider themselves to be extremely fit. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can sometimes be provoked by strenuous activities such as playing sport, which is why Australia has seen a number of recent cases involving athletes like Beth.
Of the people who suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest at a sporting venue and survived, almost all had access to an Automatic External Defibrillator.
Survival depends on a rapid response
This shows that in cases of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, it is paramount that medical attention is sought immediately. Australian Sudden Cardiac Arrest statistics indicate that only 8% of those who suffer from this condition and are outside a hospital will survive. Chances of survival also decrease by 10% for every minute that passes after Sudden Cardiac Arrest without access to defibrillation.
One of the ways to beat this condition and drastically raise the chances of survival for those who are affected is to have access to an Automatic External Defibrillator, which can be used immediately following the incident.
This is particularly relevant in sporting clubs and venues where strenuous activity caused by sport is common and the chances of Sudden Cardiac Arrest are higher.
What Is an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)?
- An AED measures the electrical rhythms in the human heart. If there is no rhythm detected then the AED will immediately and automatically shock the patient to restart the rhythm.
- As the AED is automatic, it eliminates the risk of human error in detecting an electrical rhythm.
- The best AEDs on the market (such as those offered by Defib For Life) also automatically measure the strength of the shock needed based on detailed readings of the electrical rhythm of the heart.
- An AED cannot cause harm to a patient who is receiving treatment.
- If someone is experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest, then CPR and other medical techniques are important to use but will not be that effective without the shock. Only an AED will restart a heart.
- AEDs are small, compact and can be easily stored in a sporting venue or placed on a wall in a cabinet for easy access.
- It’s very easy to use an AED and many people liken it to learning how to use other safety equipment, such as a fire extinguisher.
- Anyone can use an AED – the machine will guide you through the process thanks to its automated operating system. Anyone can save a life using an AED!
If you are a coach, athlete, volunteer, parent, or team supporter, don’t wait until there is a tragedy on the field or in your venue.
Install a defibrillator at your sporting venue to keep your athletes safe and save lives.