Mrs. Brown's Boys FAI Heart Care Programme launches

With over 5,000 people dying in Ireland every year from Sudden Cardiac Death, Mrs. Brown's Boys and the Football Association of Ireland have teamed up to tackle the issue by introducing heart screening for children and adolescents.

Brendan and Jenny O'Carroll, from Mrs. Brown's Boys, have shown tremendous passion in not only highlighting this issue but also doing something about it by donating €420,000 over a six-year period to this programme. By establishing the Mrs. Brown's Boys FAI Heart Care Programme, lives will be saved every year.

The Programme, which will start in January 2019, will provide heart screening for all children and adolescents involved in National League squads - under the guidance of FAI Medical Director, Dr. Alan Byrne.

Also, every year a minimum of 500 grassroots club coaches and club representatives will receive training in Basic Life Support as well as learning how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator which is accredited by the Irish Heart Foundation.

"We at Mrs. Brown’s Boys are delighted to get fully behind Dr. Alan Byrne and the FAI at the beginning of this ambitious programme," said Brendan and Jenny O'Carroll.

"The target is set for the next six years and we will be there every step of the way. The Heart Screening programme for young footballers deserves every effort that can be mustered and we will certainly play our part," they said.

The FAI began cardiac screening Republic of Ireland Under-15 players in 2007 and then extended that to cover domestic league players the following year.

Now, this Programme will involve the screening of players in the U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 tiers, as well as the U-17s in the Women's National League.

"Sport plays such an important role in young people's lives and the Mrs. Brown's Boys FAI Heart Care Programme will help to ensure that more children and adolescents continue to play football without suffering Sudden Cardiac Death," said Dr. Alan Byrne.

"This year UEFA made cardiac screening compulsory for all teams, male and female, taking part in any UEFA competition. Now, with the help of Brendan and Jenny, the FAI are able to roll this Programme out further.

"It is estimated that we will reach a minimum of 800 National League players in the first year, which is a fantastic start. There is a great example of this screening process working in Italy, where there has been a decrease of 89% in sudden cardiovascular death in athletes since they introduced heart screening in the 1980s. Hopefully we can have similar results with this Programme," he said.

FAI CEO John Delaney believes that this Programme, which will run for an initial six-year period, is a huge step forward in making football one of the safest sports for children to play.

"It is fantastic to get the support of Brendan and Jenny O'Carroll, as well as the Mrs. Brown's Boys brand, for what is an incredibly worthwhile Programme that will save lives," said Delaney.

"The passion that both Brendan and Jenny have for this cause is truly inspiring and I believe that we can make a real difference around the country, where grassroots coaches will receive the necessary training and National League players will be screened annually."

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Details on the Mrs. Brown’s Boys FAI Heart Care Programme 

  • Over 5,000 people die in Ireland from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) every year. For every minute that passes without Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, the chance of survival reduces by 10%. After 10 minutes, the chance of survival is negligible.
  • The survival rate from SCA is 6% but locations that have an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and trained responders can expect survival rates of >70%.
  • The course is certified by the Irish Heart Foundation and takes about 3 hours to complete. 
  • The course content includes:
  • Adult CPR
  • Child CPR
  • Using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Choking
  • Maximum student to instructor ratio of 6:1.
  • Pulse EMS will organise in association with the FAI, National CPR Training Sessions in Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connacht. 
  • Clubs from each locality can send coaches and representatives to receive certified training. 
  • There is capacity to run a course for 60 students in the morning and 60 in the afternoon. 120 people can be trained at each location in one full day. 
  • It is planned to train a minimum of 500 club representatives each year for the next 6 years. 
  • The programme will commence in January 2019 
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