Just because you play sport once or twice a week, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically heart fit. The number of people who suffer heart issues while enjoying a weekend game of football, or running around a court, is alarming, especially in those over the age of 40. And not all of them live to tell their tale. So, why not brush up on your CPR skills? You may just save a player’s life.

Sports commentator Andy Paschalidis is campaigning for defibrillators to be on-hand at every sportsground (read all about his campaign) which, along with health education, is the ultimate goal in helping to protect our players. But it’s also paramount that there are always people at the games who know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – you don’t want to be wasting vital minutes running off to find the defib in the clubhouse and not performing CPR in the meantime.

None of us want to think about an occasion when we would need to use CPR, but we certainly don’t want to be standing on the sidelines watching someone have a heart attack not knowing how to help them. If you’re at a game, there is usually always more than one person around, which means there will be someone who can call 000 for an ambulance and/or get the defib while you perform life-saving CPR. It can be very tiring performing CPR, so it can also be helpful to have another person who knows how to do it nearby so you can tag team with them. The technique is really quite simple, and there are many accredited courses around Sydney you can attend. In the meantime, here are the basics…

Firstly, quickly determine if CPR is needed…

If the player is unresponsive, check their breathing. If they are breathing normally, roll them onto their side and wait for medical help to arrive. If the player isn’t breathing, or doesn’t seem to be breathing normally, you will need to perform CPR asap. It’s worth nothing that someone in cardiac arrest can make the odd grunting sound in their attempt to breathe – this is not normal breathing. If you’re not really sure if the player is breathing correctly, then it’s wise to perform CPR anyway.

There are two methods that can help save a life. While true CPR combines mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with chest compressions in order to deliver oxygen and artificial circulation to a person until help arrives, it’s the chest compressions which are the real priority. Therefore, if you don’t want to do mouth-to-mouth on a stranger, or are worried about being able to do the compressions as well as the breathing, then chest compressions alone may still save their life.

chest compressionsCPR USING CHEST COMPRESSIONS ONLY

STEP 1 Place the heel of one hand at the centre of the player’s chest, on the breastbone. Take your other hand and place it on top of the first hand, interlocking your fingers.

STEP 2 Using your entire body weight (not only your arms), press down on the player’s chest. It’s important that you compress the chest by at least one third.

STEP 3 Repeat the chest compressions (aim for 100 compressions each minute) until the ambulance or the defibrillator arrives, or until the player begins breathing normally.

CPR USING CHEST COMPRESSIONS AND BREATHS

STEP 1 Place the heel of one hand at the centre of the player’s chest, on the breastbone. Take your other hand and place it on top of the first hand, interlocking your fingers.

STEP 2 Using your entire body weight (not only your arms), press down on the player’s chest. It’s important that you compress the chest by at least one third.

STEP 3 Repeat the chest compressions – aim for two compressions each second – until the count of 30.

STEP 4 Open the airway by tilting the player’s head back and lifting their chin. Holding the nose closed with your fingers, provide two full breaths. Ensure there is no air leaking out and the chest is rising and falling.

STEP 5 Quickly repeat 30 compressions and two breaths until the ambulance or the defibrillator arrives, or until the player begins breathing normally.

Learn the DRS ABCD

Below is the latest Basic Life Support Chart from the Australian Resuscitation Council. Print it out (anzcor-basic-life-support) to stick up on your clubhouse wall – education is key to potentially saving a teammate’s life if they are in trouble. Also, bookmark the link to this article on your phone – you never know when you may need to perform CPR at the drop of a hat.

Basic Life Support guidelines

 

Do you know CPR? And have you ever needed to use it? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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