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How to save a life.

Despite giant strides in the understanding of sports science and fitness, particularly in the professional sphere, there remains a crucial lack of awareness amongst amateur and casual players in how to react in critical situations.

That's why two local groups have joined together to kick-off an initiative to offer free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training for any member of the community free-of-cost.

Malaeb, a sports community mobile app which provides users with a platform to book sports venues and organise matches, and Heroes for Hearts, a non-profit student-led organisation, are hosting a 'Let's Save A Life' campaign at various football venues and centres around the kingdom for the next month.

It will provide members with the necessary training to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation: the urgent application of down-thrusts to the chest to keep oxygen artificially flowing from the heart at the scene of a heart attack or cardiac arrest) and aims to provide training to more than 1,000 people.

Malaeb's chief operating officer, Yasser Abdulaziz said: "Over the past couple of years there has sadly been a number deaths at football fields due to sudden cardiac arrests suffered by young healthy players. Having even just one person trained in CPR could have prevented some of these by applying the necessary techniques until medical services arrive on the scene.

"We therefore feel that we have an obligation to raise awareness within our community and to help train as many people as possible on how to perform CPR. It only takes 20 minutes, but could provide somebody else with a lifetime."

Heart health has been under the spotlight in the footballing world in recent times, with a number of high-profile cases involving professional footballers.

In 2003, Premier League star Marc-Vivien Foe died after collapsing on the pitch during Cameroon's FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia.

Then, in 2008, during an FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur, Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest but survived despite his heart having stopped for 78 minutes.

The first minutes after Muamba collapsed were crucial. Every minute lost before applying CPR is estimated to decrease chances of survival by 10 per cent.

Now, Heroes for Hearts are preparing the next generation to react in similar circumstances, with the hope that lives can be saved.

Sarah AlShehabi, a volunteer at Heroes for Hearts, explained: "This initiative is important to me as it merges two things I'm very passionate about: sport and health care.

"As a medical student, it saddens me to see the lack of awareness in the community; people fail to realise how easy it is to provide CPR, and that by doing so they are literally saving a life by buying the person time until the paramedics arrive."

"Our goal as Heroes for Hearts is to increase the rate of bystander CPR, by changing the dynamic of those trained in CPR from one that largely encompasses healthcare professionals, to one that encompasses all members of the community. It brings me pleasure to work alongside Malaeb in providing the necessary steps in empowering the Bahraini community."

Two free sessions, from 4pm-4.30pm and 5pm-5.30pm, will take place each Friday. This week, the team will be at Gravity in Zallaq, at Football Season in Sanad on March 1, at Riffa Views in Riffa on March 8, at MMYC in Muharraq on March 16, amd finally at Hamad Town Youth Centre on March 23.

For more information on the sessions and to register, contact 66996000, 36638800 or 32194101.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Feb 20, 2019
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