Cricket Australia has today launched the Community Heart Program alongside the charitable initiative, Heart of the Nation.
The program aims to create awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and provides cricket clubs across Australia with a platform to fundraise for Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), which are a vital link in the chain of survival when dealing with cardiac arrest.
Recognising the need to support the community, Cricket Australia is encouraging clubs to sign up to the program as, according to St John Victoria, an AED can increase someone’s chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest to around 70%.
With 31,885 teams registered at a club level in 2019-20, Scott Tutton, Cricket Australia Club & Competitions Manager, said it was important to raise awareness for sudden cardiac arrest in the cricket community.
“This program is very important to us as our sport has an alarming history with cardiac arrest in the community,” Tutton said.
“A lot of men play cricket and it’s also a sport that can be played into a much older age when compared to other team sports. Both of these factors are linked to an increase in the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
“Cricket is also different to a lot of other sports in that clubs and their teams can often be playing at multiple venues, all at the same time.
“We’d love to get to a point where every cricket team can have timely access to an AED, regardless of the venue they are playing at.
“We believe this program will provide a platform to assist clubs in raising the necessary funds to purchase AEDs.”
Greg Page, Original Yellow Wiggle and founder of Heart of the Nation, is passionate about raising awareness around the importance of having an AED readily available, after having gone through his own experience with sudden cardiac arrest.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere, any time – it doesn’t always pick the most obvious victim, and it doesn’t care what you are doing when it strikes,” Page said.
“A lot of people may know that I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest whilst performing with The Wiggles – however, what a lot of people may not know is that the very next day, I was due to be playing cricket. Had I been on the cricket field instead of a venue with an AED, the outcome may have been very different.
“It’s great that we (Heart of the Nation) can work with Cricket Australia to deliver the Community Heart Program.
“We know that during physical activity, the demands placed on the heart are increased. We want to make sure that we continue to educate and empower the community so that if they are ever the first responders on site at local sporting clubs, they have the knowledge and the equipment to save a life.”
Cricket Australia and Heart of the Nation will also work alongside Stryker to deliver the program. Stryker is a medical technology company which manufactures Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and a range of other medical devices.