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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 June 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 JUNE 2016 25 SPORT Heartbeat of Football aims to save lives on the field Melbourne football community gathers for launch of foundation GEORGE STOGIANNOU As legendary Liverpool coach Bill Shankly's most famous quote goes: "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it's more important than that." But what happens when football literally becomes a matter of life and death, such as when a player collapses in a park after a sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully it doesn't happen often, but when it does, it often has devastating consequences. Such was the case with a teammate of sports media personality Andy Paschalidis during an over 35s match they were playing in Forrest Ranges. "You see someone's life disappear in front of you, and you feel helpless about the tools and mechanisms in place to make a difference," he says. Witnessing the death of a teammate, and meeting in person the be- reaved families of four other players who died playing football over 2014-2015, moved Paschalidis to a personal vow to make a change. He set up the Heartbeat of Football foundation and took time off work to devote his energy to getting the not-for profit organisation up and running. Meetings with various football associations, health bodies, politicians, referees associations and committees have led to an increasing number of people and organisations willing to support the foundation, culminating in the unveiling earlier this week of the first ever 24-7 defibrillator at a sporting ground in this country. The FFA threw its support behind the foundation, sending some of its big guns such as Tim Cahill, Bailey Wright and Ange Postecoglou along to the unveiling at the home of the Marrickville Red Devils in Sydney. That was followed yesterday by the official Sydney launch of the Heartbeat of Football foundation, and it's Melbourne's turn this Monday when Kinisi Live in Richmond hosts the Victorian launch. A key strategy of the foundation is to roll out defibrillators at sports grounds across the country. Research indicates that immediate access to a defibrillator can lead to a 70 per cent survival rate if applied quickly, compared to a 5 per cent survival rate following cardiac arrest if no defibrillator is applied. "In the day and age we're in, you go to most corporate locations, shopping centres, train stations and there are first aid kits. There are defibrillators 24-7. Why don't we have that at sporting grounds?" Paschalidis says. He believes supplying local grounds with an on-site defibrillator, to be shared by clubs of various codes sharing that facility, is also a great opportunity for collaboration between the codes, and for developing a strong sense of community. Heartbeat for Football foundation is also advocating setting up a National Register of Defibrillators so that their location can be known, and areas of need and undersupply identified and prioritised. He also wants the foundation, through its medical committee, to conduct a review of the spike in the number of onfield deaths, and produce a report and recommendations which may reduce the risk of further deaths. Developing community education and awareness campaigns will also be a key strategy of the foundation. " As a game, we have an issue but we're not blaming the game,” Paschalidis says. “It's just that more and more people are playing the game for longer and longer. Now you can imagine how many people we'd lose to heart attacks off the field if they weren't playing, if they weren't being active and healthy and getting checked. We're sort of saying 'come on guys. Look, we want you to play. Go and get yourself checked. Just like a motor vehicle, you need the pink slip. You need to go and get yourself registered that you're mechanically sound’." Tickets for the 6 June Melbourne launch at Kinisi, Richmond are on sale at $100 per head, which includes dinner. Special guests include NSL stars Alan Davidson, Joe Biskic, Stan Lazaridis, Con Boutsianis, Kimon Taliadoros, Peter Tsolakis, Joe Palatsides. Melbourne Knights, Oakleigh Cannons, Heidelberg, Green Gully and Kingston City will also be represented. PFA rep Simon Colosimo and Perth Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos will also be in attendance. For tickets to the foundation's Melbourne launch contact email@example.com or phone 0412 184 048. Spartans mark seventh victory The Hawthorn club fought against Brunswick NOBSC in wet conditions but came out dry Great teamwork in the rain led to the Spartans' seventh win last Saturday against Brunswick NOBSC. With the team’s morale high and in great shape, Hawthorn Spartans is preparing for today's match versus arch rival Old Xaverians at 11.40 am in Bulleen Park. "A big part of the make-up of the Spartans is the coaching and medical staff, especially the trainers," George Demetriou tells Neos Kosmos. "The Spartans trainers are there every training night and match day and work tirelessly to keep all players in tip top shape." The head trainer is Dr Harry Sklavounos, chiropractor and principal of Richmond Chiro, whose 15 years of experience include working at the Northern Bullants FC in the VFL and being chief of medical staff at South Melbourne SC (from 2007 to 2013) in the VPL. Another trainer is Steff Morris, a qualified professional massage therapist who runs her business from the same Richmond clinic as Harry does. Steff also has many years of experience with football and soccer clubs. Last but not least comes Ross Henshaw, with a wealth of AFL and grassroots football experience. Henshaw is also a dual premiership player with the North Melbourne Football Club, having worked with and coached Carlton Under 19s in VFL. For more match details refer to Spartans website www.hawthornspartans.com.au Olympiakos striker survives kidnap ordeal Freed kidnap victim, Olympiakos' Mexican-born striker Alan Pulido, thanked the authorities for their help and people for their prayers, but may have added his strength and conditioning coach, after surviving a 24-hour kidnap ordeal in Mexico last weekend. The 25-year-old Mexican international footballer was reportedly kidnapped by masked gunmen after leaving a party with his girlfriend in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas on 28 May, 200km south of the Texas border in a state notorious for kidnappings. His girlfriend was released unharmed but he was taken to a hidden location and held to ransom. But according to reports, Pulido managed to engineer his own escape by overpowering one of his captors, disarming him and then using the captor's mobile phone to contact law enforcement officials to notify them of his whereabouts. Authorities swooped on the two-storey house, freed Pulido and arrested a suspect. Tamaulipas state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla said the suspect was a member of one of the gangs operating in Ciudad Victoria, a state in which drug cartels have fought numerous turf wars and where kidnapping and murder is a daily occupation. The Olympiakos club expressed relief at the news that its striker was safely back with his family, putting out a statement via Twitter: "Alan is safe and sound with his family. We thank every- one for their concerns and prayers during the difficult moments he has lived." Pulido suffered a minor injury to his hand when he broke the glass of a window in the house where he was captive, but otherwise is reportedly well following his ordeal.
28 May 2016
11 June 2016