Central Football Club (FC) has been able to provide a defibrillator at its King George’s Playing Fields, close to Topsham Road. The equipment which has easy to follow instructions can emit an electric shock to revive people suffering from a heart attack. The machine only operates when it senses that the person is suffering a specific arrhythmia – an irregular heart beat associated with sudden heart failure.

DefribulatorCentral FC club chairman Nigel Parker unveiled the defibrillator at a special ceremony attended by young footballers from the club, along with representatives from Devon Football Association and South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust. Nigel Parker said:

“As a club we regularly have more than 500 children and adults playing football here at King George’s Playing Fields, plus hundreds of the public watching or exercising their dogs, or just enjoying the parkland. Our football club cares for the playing fields, it is us who arrange and pay for the grass to be cut and for the changing rooms to be kept clean. Taking care of our visitors and users is something we also take very seriously.”

“Many people will remember the high-profile case of Fabrice Muamba – the Bolton Wanderers player who collapsed with heart failure while playing football against Spurs in 2012. In that instance quick medical care and the use of a defibrillator saved him. With so many local people using this community resource it made sense for us to guard against the worst possible outcome and try to fundraise for a defibrillator.”

Central FC undertook a sustained fundraising drive throughout 2016 and 2017, including a very successful quiz night held at Exeter City FC attended by more than 100 people and which raised more than £700. Their target was eventually achieved with the help of staff from South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust.

Chris Crook, Assistant Community Responder Officer for the NHS Foundation Trust said:

“A colleague of mine plays for Central FC. He mentioned that the club wanted a defibrillator for the community and we were able to provide one for the club, along with the training that goes with it. The great thing about these machines is that they are designed to be used by anyone and are accessible 2 hours a day. They are something that sports clubs should look to get. We recommend that they be installed where there are big groups of people.”

Also attending the unveiling ceremony was Roland Brown, Director of Devon County Football Association (FA). He said:

“Installing a defibrillator is something we have done at our Devon County FA headquarters in Newton Abbot after we unfortunately suffered a fatality two years ago. It’s a big credit to Central FC. It’s one of the pieces of kit that you hope you never use, but if you use it just once then it’s been worth everything.”

The defibrillator at King George’s Playing Fields can be found in an unlocked cabinet at the main entrance to its sports pavilion, next to the main car park. 

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