LONDON (Reuters) – The English FA marked the first anniversary of Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie by announcing it was providing more than 900 life-saving defibrillators to senior men’s and women’s soccer clubs in England.
In a joint statement with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on Monday, the FA said the "initiative will create thousands of life-savers by giving players, staff and fans access to the equipment and information needed to save a life."
The BHF will match a donation of 400,000 pounds from the FA towards the cost of the defibrillators, with another 400,000 pounds coming from clubs.
Awareness about sudden cardiac arrest was heightened when former England under-21 player Muamba collapsed while his team Bolton Wanderers were playing Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane on March 17 last year.
Muamba, who made a full recovery after effectively being "dead" for 78 minutes, has retired from playing on medical grounds and has been hailed as a medical miracle by doctors because only around one in 10 people normally survive a witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United Kingdom.
Professor Peter Weissberg, the BHF’s medical director, said: "The importance of these machines in the chain of survival cannot be underestimated and a new partnership between the nation’s heart charity and the FA promises to make a difference between life and death in many of our clubs and their communities."
(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Clare Fallon)
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