All Whites legend Adrian Elrick is calling for all clubs in the country to have an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) after his life was saved by one over the festive period.
The 67-year-old – who represented New Zealand 92 times, was a member of the All Whites’ 1982 FIFA World Cup squad and is in the top five for total appearances – collapsed while playing at the Matua Bowling Club in Tauranga last weekend.
Fortunately, the club had a defibrillator on site which young member Sam Dockary used to bring Elrick back, as well as performing CPR.
Elrick is extremely grateful for the swift actions of Dockary, 22, and says his brush with death highlights the value of defibrillators.
“By the time the ambulance got there I would have been in a wooden box rather than gone to hospital,” Elrick says.
“I think the message here is that every club, it doesn’t matter if it’s a sports club, an RSA or a community club, should have one of these defibrillators in there. It’s just amazing how something like this can give you your life back again.”
New Zealand Football is among those leading the way in this area and in September of last year launched its Smart Start – AEDs in Clubs Programme. The vision is for all football clubs throughout the country to have an AED and, with the support of ACC SportSmart and F-Marc, 60 fully-funded AED units are being distributed to football clubs per year for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Quality Club Mark (QCM) clubs that meet and hold the current revised QCM standards, plus national league clubs and federations, all received an AED unit in 2016.
In addition, all other New Zealand Football-affiliated clubs that currently do not meet the revised QCM criteria are able to purchase a discounted and subsidised AED unit through this initiative.
Dr Mark Fulcher, Medical Director for New Zealand Football, says Elrick’s experience further underlines the importance of the Smart Start – AEDs in Clubs Programme.
“It is vital that every football club in New Zealand has a defibrillator and an action plan and it is up to football clubs to make this a priority,” Dr Fulcher says.
“We know that AEDs save lives, we have seen that both here and overseas and every football club can prevent deaths in their club by making this subsidised and much-needed investment.”
The Smart Start – AEDs in Clubs Programme is one of a number of initiatives led by the New Zealand Football Injury Prevention team. New Zealand Football has also partnered with ACC SportSmart and FIFA to implement the FIFA 11+ warm up and injury prevention programme with seven Injury Prevention Managers currently operating in the federations around the country.