Ahead of Brentford’s game against Brighton in Atlanta at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Wednesday, Gary Blissett and Marcus Gayle met with physicians and leaders from Emory’s Office Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) and Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES).
Together, they spoke about the ways to raise awareness and help communities prepare for worst-case scenarios in the course of play.
They were joined by Emory emergency physician Lekshmi Kumar, MD, co-medical director for the Peachtree Road Race and Trey Robinson, MD, associate medical director for Atlanta’s 911 ambulance service and Emory physician lead for emergency action plans at Mercedes Benz when the Falcons play. Emory physician Doug Ander, MD, who works with the Atlanta Track Club and Tiara Sinkfield, director of state programs for CARES were also there to share their knowledge and experiences with the Brentford delegation.
Speaking about cardiac health to the local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), club ambassador Marcus Gayle said: “It’s very close and connected to us, and we want to take our own sort of accountability as a football club, and make sure our staff are trained.
“We’re looking to stretch this out into our local communities and schools, so everyone in our local community is fully aware of and trained in terms of what are the signs [of cardiac arrest].”
The topic of cardiac health hit the headlines in the USA after Bronny James, the 18-year-old eldest son of four-time NBA champion LeBron James, had a cardiac arrest during basketball practice at the University of Southern California on Monday.
Marcus and Gary also met Willie Hatchett, who collapsed after suffering from a cardiac arrest in the Peachtree Road Race. Speaking to the AJC, Hackett said: “We had bystanders who started CPR immediately, and that’s why I’m here today.
“I tell that story because what you see on the outside might not be so. So, I think it’s very important to tell the story of survival and being able to come back and not being afraid to walk or even run it again.”
Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates for those experiencing cardiac arrest. The earlier CPR is administered – ideally in the first two minutes after a patient collapses – the better the outcome will be.
Greig Mailer, Brentford corporate affairs director, felt that they had learned a lot from the visit: “These hospital visits have been very positive for us. Meeting some of the leading cardiac physicians and campaigners in the cities we have visited has given us ideas and inspiration to bring back home for our own Heart of West London initiative. We are very grateful to everyone we have met and hosted us over the past week.”