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Life-saving defibrillators are to be installed at every rugby club in Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.
The sport’s governing body has teamed up with the Calon Hearts charity to install the equipment, free of charge, at more than 300 clubs this season.
“This initiative will provide vital help and support throughout our game as it seeks to return safely after the disruption of the pandemic,” said WRU community director Geraint John.
“Defibrillators have been a major topic of conversation with clubs and also at the Community Board Level in recent weeks and I would like to thank everyone involved in getting this project over the line.
“This is a significant financial commitment from our Board, but it is one that will save lives and have a directly positive impact not just on the community game in Wales but on the health of the nation.
“We know there are clubs who already have defibrillators but there are many areas where they haven’t been purchased through lack of funds or availability and we have now removed this obstacle.
“For those clubs who are already ahead on this issue, and have their own machines, we will still be in a position to provide additional support, whether that be extra machines for training grounds or club houses, introducing mobile machines or meeting the cost of those already purchased.”
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Calon Hearts will provide the defibrillator, manage its installation and provide training to relevant volunteers at clubs on use and maintenance of the equipment.
According to statistics from the charity, the survival rate after a sudden Cardiac arrest outside of hospital is only 3%. Whereas when a defibrillator is used, the survival rate is 47%.
Sharon Owen, from Calon Hearts, said: “There are not enough defibrillators in Wales or trained people to give victims the best chance of survival during those first few critical minutes and so we are extremely grateful to the WRU for their support of this initiative.
“We hope the defibrillators never have to be used, but if they are used many lives in Wales will be saved as a consequence. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drop by up to 14% for every minute that passes, so a speedy response is crucial. Early defibrillation – within four to five minutes – gives the best possible chance of survival.
“With access to more defibrillators at rugby clubs throughout the country, Calon Hearts can help our partners in the emergency services to improve chances of survival and protect our communities.”
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