Graeme Souness calls on football fans to learn lifesaving CPR

Graeme Souness wants football fans to learn CPR after it was revealed more than half of Brits don’t know how.

The football legend – who was diagnosed with coronary heart disease in his early thirties – knows how vital CPR can be, which is why he’s teamed up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on its new campaign.

A new survey of 2,000 UK adults shows nearly half of Brits know someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, while one in five people have been in a situation where they needed to perform CPR.

Graeme, a long-standing ambassador for the charity said ‘if every football fan across the UK did the 15-minute session to learn CPR it could be a game changer for survival rates’.

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‘CPR could be the most important lesson you ever learn. Having been diagnosed with coronary heart disease myself at aged 33, it really could happen to anyone,’ he said.

‘With RevivR, in just 15 minutes – the length of half time – you will have the skills to save a life. Every fan in every football club across the country can make a difference so please join the BHF today and let’s unite to create a new team of lifesavers.’

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, but less than one in 10 people survive.

Early CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. exclusively told the story of Nicky Lack last week, who saved the life of her husband after he had encouraged her to train as a first aider.

Following footballer Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest on the pitch in Euro 2020, the research also found that nine out of 10 fans were keen to learn how to perform CPR but a staggering 45% of the population admitted that they wouldn’t be able to spot the signs of cardiac arrest.

Former Liverpool FC captain and pundit Graeme Souness, 69, recently surprised Tooting and Mitcham United FC to put players through their paces with a pitch-side CPR training session using the BHF’s free online tool RevivR.

Shin pads that included simple CPR instructions were also handed out to the players, as a reminder while under pressure.

The shin pads are part of a trial by the British Heart Foundation that could be rolled out nationwide.

Symptoms of a cardiac arrest

According to the British Heart Foundation, a cardiac arrest usually happens without warning. If someone is in cardiac arrest, they collapse suddenly and:

  • Will be unconscious
  • Will be unresponsive 
  • Won’t be breathing or breathing normally – not breathing normally may mean they’re making gasping noises

Without immediate treatment or medical attention, the person will die. If you see someone having a cardiac arrest, phone 999 immediately and start CPR.

Graeme recounted to the team his own experience of coronary heart disease, after the diagnosis left him asking, ‘How could this happen to me?’

While managing Liverpool FC, the football star went on to have a triple heart bypass in what he describes as an ‘extremely vulnerable’ experience.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive at British Heart Foundation, said: ‘As a nation of football lovers, we’re delighted to have the support of legend of the game Graeme Souness to encourage fans to learn lifesaving CPR.

‘A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age. If every fan in the country took the 15 minutes it takes to learn CPR with RevivR, it could mean the difference between life and death.’

RevivR means anyone can learn CPR – and all that is needed is a mobile phone and a cushion.

It teaches how to recognise a cardiac arrest, gives feedback on chest compressions and outlines the correct steps of using a defibrillator, giving anyone the confidence to help in the ultimate medical emergency.

The BHF is now urging all football fans to grab a phone, cushion and 15 minutes to learn CPR in just the length of half time. Find out more on the charity’s website.

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