Over-70s cricketers prepared for cardiac emergencies after defibrillator training

Dereham Lions have presented the Norfolk Over 70's Cricketers with a Defribrilator. Pictured at the front are (R) Mick Smith and Chris Watson. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Lions have presented the Norfolk Over 70's Cricketers with a Defribrilator. Pictured at the front are (R) Mick Smith and Chris Watson. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Norfolk’s over-70s cricketers have been trained how to use their new life-saving defibrillator, to prepare themselves to deal with the possibility of a cardiac emergency in the field.

Players, scorers and even an umpire arrived at Dereham Cricket Club for a training day with ambulance paramedics where they learned about resuscitation and vital first aid.

The age of the competitors in this senior side – coupled with the demands of inter-county sport in hot summer weather – puts them at increased risk of sudden heart problems, although paramedics stressed that a cardiac arrest could be suffered by anyone of any age, however fit they are.

The team was shown how to administer electric shocks to a casualty’s chest using a portable defibrillator, whose £970 cost was partly met with a £150 donation from the Dereham Lions.

A second unit has also been bought which will be used by the equivalent team in Suffolk, which until recently was part of a combined Norfolk and Suffolk eleven.

Mick Smith, manager and captain of the Norfolk over-70s, said: “We have had a couple of incidents where people just fall over. It goes with the age group and running around on a hot summer’s day for four or five hours after having driven maybe 180 miles to get to the ground. When we played at Worcester last year it was 35 degrees, so it’s no wonder people a feel a little faint!

“The more of us that are trained to use this defibrillator, the safer we will all feel.”

Mr Smith, from South Green in Dereham, is also president of Bradenham Cricket Club.

Stephen Theobald, an ambulance paramedic with the East of England NHS Trust, said: “These guys are playing sport to keep themselves healthy and fit, but unfortunately they are in an age group which is susceptible to cardiac issues, and this extra effort can cause a cardiac arrest.

“As an ambulance service we cannot be everywhere, so it is still nice that community groups are able to take responsibility for their own safety, by learning the basic techniques and purchasing their own equipment which will potentially save one of their members’ lives.”

The battery-powered defibrillator gives audible instructions to the user and is capable of administering up to 30 shocks – but only if it detects a shockable cardiac rhythm, so it will not work on a healthy heart.

After presenting the new equipment, Harry Howe, president of the Dereham Lions, said: “It is a community thing. It is not just going to benefit one person – the potential is there for it to help a lot of people. We hope they don’t have to use it, but it is good to have it in case they do.”

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