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GAA should give first aid training to players and coaches says Kevin Madden

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen is to be fitted with a heart-starting device after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch last weekend. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran

FORMER Antrim forward Kevin Madden believes the GAA should roll out first aid training for coaches and players, in the wake of Denmark star Christian Eriksen’s on-field cardiac arrest last weekend.

Danish defender Simon Kjaer performed potentially life-saving CPR in the moments after Eriksen collapsed against Finland, helping stabilise his team-mate before medical staff arrived.

Madden - a community sports development officer with Lisburn and Castlereagh Council - has been tutoring CPR and running defibrillator training courses for the past decade, and believes schools and the GAA can learn lessons from the traumatic events that unfolded in Copenhagen on Saturday.

“The GAA, as an organisation which leads on most things, could certainly do more around getting coaches, mentors and players trained up. What’s three hours out of a person’s life if it helps save somebody?

“The defibrillator is the easiest piece of kit anybody will ever use, the machine will even talk you through CPR, but the training is important because it gives people confidence that they can do it.

“Christian Eriksen’s life was saved, not because he’s a young, fit man, but because there was a first responder there within seconds and they identified he had taken a cardiac arrest.

“If that had happened at home where there wasn’t somebody who knew what to do, it would probably have been a different story. This kind of incident highlights the importance of early intervention, and as many people as possible knowing what to do in that situation.”

The Portglenone man, whose own career was cut short due to a serious heart condition, also feels schools across the country should be training children up as early as possible.

“It should be mandatory in secondary schools, primary schools, even workplaces,” he said.

“Children are sponges, and everybody should learn this as early as they can. There isn’t enough awareness, and there’s also a fear you want to try and eradicate – what would happen if I did the wrong thing?

“As I always tell people when I’m doing courses, this person has already died, you can’t make the situation any worse. You can only make it better. So the two or three hour training course will help remove that fear very easily.”

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