Tuesday October 5, 2021: Health and first aid charity St John Ambulance has lent its voice to a call for sudden cardiac arrest training to become mandatory for all involved in the delivery of sport.

An open letter from UK Coaching to Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport coincides with SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) Awareness Week and is backed by some of this country’s biggest sporting legends.

Every week 12 people under the age of 35 die of sudden cardiac arrest. Yet if effective action is taken within the first minute, it can treble chances of survival.

St John Ambulance’s director of strategy and communications, James Radford says: “First aid saves lives and that’s why we are pleased to be part of this powerful coalition of voices calling for measures to help make sport safer; it’s what our people do at sporting events almost every day of the year.”

UK Coaching offers a free eLearning course which provides the knowledge and confidence to respond quickly and appropriately in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. The toolkit, funded by Sport England, has been created by UK Coaching in collaboration with Resuscitation Council UK, St John Ambulance and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT).

The open letter, which also asks for defibrillators to be made more widely available, with one at every sporting venue, is supported by one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and former England rugby captain and Patron of JHMT, Martin Johnson. 

“It is so important that everybody who leads or participates in sport knows what to do in cases of sudden cardiac arrest,” says Martin Johnson. 

“Sudden cardiac arrests kill 60,000 people outside of hospital in the UK every year and in lots of cases, this could be avoided. However, it’s no use people having the skills and knowledge to act if there isn’t a defibrillator nearby.

“Immediate access to an AED along with CPR gives that person the best possible chance of survival. AEDs need to be as commonplace as fire extinguishers.”

You can learn how to save lives

To find out more about first aid training with St John Ambulance visit www.sja.org.uk/bookcourses