Football clubs in Sussex told to prepare for medical emergencies

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FOOTBALL clubs across the Observer area are being strongly urged to make sure they have life-saving equipment on hand.

The Sussex FA have launched a potentially life-saving appeal encouraging clubs to obtain the appropriate equipment to deal with emergencies like the one that saw Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba have a cardiac arrest on the pitch during the FA Cup tie with Spurs at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

That incident, which has made headlines worldwide, followed a lesser-publicised but no less serious incident a week earlier involving Sussex FA general manager Ashley Slaughter.

While refereeing the Ryman one south game between Whyteleafe and Hythe, Slaughter was stung by a bee and suffered a severe reaction, going into a coma.

Thankfully he made a good recovery after treatment at the ground and a hospital dash.

And yesterday Muamba was still said to be improving at the London Chest Hospital four days after his collapse.

Both emergencies brought into focus just how quickly a life-threatening situation can develop on a football pitch, and how important access to life-saving equipment is.

Sussex FA chief executive Ken Benham said: “Life-threatening incidents on a football pitch are unfortunately not as uncommon as we may think.

“Indeed the events at Whyteleafe recently, where Ashley collapsed after a bee sting, proves that you never know what’s around the corner. We want to ensure that if something happens at our facility, or indeed anywhere in the local area, the person concerned has the best treatment available, and we hope clubs around the county feel the same.”

A review was completed at the Sussex FA county ground in Lancing last week and it has been recommended that the most essential piece of life-saving equipment available would be a defibrillator.