Some of Northern Ireland’s top sporting talent are backing British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland’s (BHF NI) campaign to train more communities in CPR and defibrillator awareness and save hundreds of lives each year.
With around 1,400 out of hospital cardiac arrests in Northern Ireland every year, but less than one in ten people surviving, the heart charity is calling on post primary schools, community groups and sports clubs to get trained in the lifesaving skills to improve survival rates.
BHF NI say if survival rates here were boosted to match those seen in parts of Norway, where CPR is taught in schools and up to one in four people survive, hundreds of additional lives could be saved each year.
The charity’s bid to improve cardiac arrest survival was launched at the House of Sport.
Robin McCready from Bangor - who survived a sudden cardiac arrest eight years ago - said: "I never expected it to happen to me. I was fit and healthy and as well as taekwondo I also played hockey.
"I collapsed in Bangor Leisure Centre and it was only through the quick actions of the people there who performed CPR and defibrillation that I am here today.
Linfield manager David Healy said, “As a sportsman and now manager at Linfield Football Club I know how vitally important it is for sports clubs, community groups and schools to know this amazing skill. It could really be the difference between life and death.
“I know how important it is to keep yourself fit and healthy but everyone will know that cardiac arrests can happen to people who are the peak of their fitness like my fellow football player Fabrice Muamba. That is why it’s so important that everyone here has the vital skills to save a life.”