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18 Mar 2013 13:22
Retired Bolton Wanderers' player Fabrice Muamba. (AFP)
In a joint statement with the British Heart Foundation on Monday, the football association (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 foundation will match a donation of £400 000 from the association towards the cost of the defibrillators, with another £400 000 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 British Heart Foundation'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." – Reuters
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