Brentford visit Penn Medicine and the American Heart Association

Club ambassadors Marcus Gayle and Gary Blissett, alongside chief executive Jon Varney and other staff, visited Penn Medicine and the American Heart Association in Philadelphia ahead of Brentford’s first match of the Premier League Summer Series.

Brentford has been working hard to promote cardiac health with the Heart of West London initiative. Yesterday’s visit gave the club to chance to learn from two of the leading heart health organisations in the USA.

Club representatives first met with two heart survivors at the American Heart Association’s interactive CPR kiosk to promote the fundamental lifesaving skill. The CPR kiosk is located on the second floor of University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Center of Advanced Medicine.

“Every year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the confines of a hospital and more than 20 per cent occur in public places such as airports, malls and sporting facilities,” said Dr Benjamin Abella, physician at Penn Medicine.

“In a cardiac emergency, chest compressions keep blood flowing to a person’s vital organs before paramedics arrive on scene. Bystander intervention can double or even triple a person’s chance at survival.”

Brentford chief executive Jon Varney said: “Cardiac health is something that is really important to us. It’s affected our colleagues, players and our fans and we want to use the power of sport to raise awareness around CPR training and the importance of heart screenings. 

“It was an honour to meet with our friends at the American Heart Association and Penn Medicine and learn about the work that they do. We hope to take those lessons back to London. By working together, we believe we can save lives.”

The American Heart Association’s interactive CPR kiosk teaches users how they can immediately help a person who experiences a cardiac emergency. Each kiosk has a touch screen with a brief video that shows how to perform CPR, followed by a practice session and a 30-second CPR test.

With the help of a practice manikin, the kiosk gives feedback about the depth and rate of compressions and proper hand placement – factors that influence the effectiveness of delivering cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“The American Heart Association is focused on encouraging at least one member of every American household to learn the lifesaving hands-only CPR skills,” said Jennifer Litchman-Green, executive director for the American Heart Association Philadelphia region.

“We are grateful to stand alongside Independence Blue Cross, Penn Medicine, and now Brentford FC, to urge the Philadelphia community to learn how to save a life by visiting the CPR kiosk and promoting the importance of being a life saver.

“We know that bystander CPR intervention in Philadelphia is significantly lower than the national average, making it even more critical here to place more lifesavers in the community.”

After practicing hands-only CPR at the kiosk, Jon, Gary, Marcus and Brentford staff visited families in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Commenting on the visit, Gary Blissett said: “It was a very sobering experience. It made me really think, especially as I have children myself.

“I see and work with thousands of young kids at my club in Florida and I can help to send a message to them about the importance of CPR, screenings and heart health.

“This visit has made me want to do more. We all have a role to play in helping to raise awareness.”

Marcus Gayle commented: “I was humbled yesterday. I am so glad as a club that we are very connected to this cause. Heart health is a genuine concern for us. We have made some really good connections that we can build on in the future. I’m so pleased that we have been able to take the work we have been doing in west London to the east coast of America and beyond.”

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