STUDENTS joined Hartlepool United footballers and firefighters in a mass display of CPR in light of a number of high profile heart-related incidents on the sports field.
Youngsters at Hartlepool College of Further Education were given 30-minute sessions on the basics of CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, before dozens gathered in the college’s Atrium to carry out the manoeuvre on mannequins.
The event was organised after a handful of sports stars suffered cardiac-arrests in the past months, some of which were fatal.
In the most high-profile incident Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed during an FA cup match with Tottenham Hotspur and his heart is said to have stopped for more than 70 minutes.
Amazingly Muamba was brought back to life and only this week walked on to the pitch at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium to a standing ovation ahead of the two teams meeting again, this time in the Premier League.
Others have not been as lucky as Muamba. Italian footballer Piermario Morosini suffered a fatal cardiac-arrest on the pitch shortly after Muamba, and only this week 26-year-old world champion swimmer Alexander Dale Oen died in the pool during training after also suffering a cardiac arrest.
The incidents triggered staff at Hartlepool College of Further Education to set up a day of CPR training as they work alongside Cleveland Fire Brigade to raise the awareness of CPR in the community.
Jason Wood, watch manager at the town’s Stranton Fire Station, said: “In light of the Fabrice Muamba situation and other similar cases, we wanted to raise awareness of the importance of CPR.
“As part of a British Heart Foundation campaign and our close links to the college, we gave students CPR sessions.
“CPR skills are easy enough to learn and you never know when you are going to need them.”
Kevin Fincken, a public services lecturer at the college who helped to organise the event, believes everyone in the community should know how to carry out CPR.
He said: “We are delighted to be able to teach CPR skills to both students and the Hartlepool United players.
“We wanted to promote CPR in the light of a number of high-profile incidents.
“It’s a life-saving manoeuvre and a real skill that I believe everyone should be able to carry out.”
Chris Begley, 20, a student at the college who lives in the Raby Road area of town, said: “It’s been a really useful day and very important.
“I had no idea how to do CPR but it’s pretty simple.
“I think it should be obligatory for every student to have to learn.”
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