Critical care team teach lifesaving CPR skills to Bristol Bears Premier Rugby Squad - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Critical care team teach lifesaving CPR skills to Bristol Bears Premier Rugby Squad

Bristol Bears Rugby Squad with GWAAC crews and volunteers

Over 50 Bristol Bears Premiership Rugby players were taught vital lifesaving skills today in a session hosted by local crews and volunteers from Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

The session, which took place in the Bristol Bears High Performance Centre, saw Critical Care Doctors and Specialist Paramedics from the local air ambulance crew, along with a number of volunteers from the charity’s Great Western Heartstarters programme, train the players in performing effective CPR and first aid in the event of a cardiac arrest.  This was particularly prominent following the incident earlier this year during the European Championships which highlighted the importance of having bystanders trained in medical first aid.

In the UK, 30,000 people will experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year, in which their heart stops, yet sadly only 1 in 10 will survive. Having effective CPR in the first two minutes can double the person’s chance of survival and is vitally important to have begun before emergency services are on scene, meaning having non-healthcare professionals trained in CPR can mean the difference between life and death.

The Bristol Bears' players were shown what to do in the event of a medical emergency, and then taught how to perform effective CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest using manikins provided by the local air ambulance charity.

Director of Rugby at Bristol Bears, Pat Lam, said: “A huge thank you to Great Western Air Ambulance Charity for taking the time to come and teach our staff and players crucial lifesaving skills at the High Performance Centre. We saw during Euro 2020 the importance of knowing how to perform effective CPR and first aid in the event of a cardiac arrest and everyone will have benefitted hugely from today.”

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity run their own training programme, Great Western Heartstarters, which sees a number of local healthcare professionals volunteer to teach lifesaving skills to school pupils and community groups across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.

Critical Care Doctor Rich Jeavons from the air ambulance charity, said: “It’s been such a great opportunity to come along today and teach the team these skills. We’re honoured to be a part of it and really pleased to see a local high profile sports team train in such important skills – we hope if they’re ever needed, that they can feel confident in providing this crucial first aid.”

The event happened to take place during Air Ambulance Week, which runs from 6 – 12 September this year. The dedicated campaign week highlights how air ambulance charities, such as Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, rapidly deliver advanced lifesaving pre-hospital care to patients suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, essentially bringing the hospital to the patient when every second counts.

The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity crew are called out to over five incidents a day on average, with over a third of these often being in the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest.