Former Ryder Cup captain shows his support for the device that saved his life last year
Former European Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher has launched a new campaign which could, potentially, help save the lives of thousands of golfers across the country.
Drawing on his own personal experience of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest last August, Gallacher and his wife, Lesley, are leading the call for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be widely available in every single golf club and driving range in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Gallacher’s own life was saved by one such device when he collapsed last year ahead of a public engagement in Aberdeen. He spent a week in intensive care before going on to make a full recovery.
However, he is acutely aware that his survival was in no small part down to the availability of an AED – as well as the early-response CPR treatment he received – in the Marcliffe Hotel where he took ill.
As such, he is determined to see more AEDs installed throughout British golf clubs.
“I consider myself incredibly fortunate that a defibrillator was on hand in Aberdeen to resuscitate me following my sudden cardiac arrest,” said the 65-year-old.
“But for that AED and the quick-thinking, expertise and life-saving skills of the medical personnel in the room that night, I wouldn’t be here today.
“Without early intervention, an individual has just a 5% chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest, so Lesley and I felt it appropriate to try to ensure others are equally fortunate should they collapse in or around a golfing venue in future.”
At present, only 30% of British and Irish golf clubs - serving an estimated four million people per year - have a defibrillator. However, Gallacher is determined to increase that number considerably over the coming year.
He added: “Our stated aim is to try to raise awareness of the importance of having an AED close by in case of emergency, and to encourage every club or driving range in the UK and Ireland to have at least one public-access defibrillator by the end of 2014.
“Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, and possibly on the golf course. We want to do whatever it takes to raise the level of awareness of defibrillators and to get them into more clubs around the country.”
TrudieLobban, the founder and CEO of Arrhythmia Alliance, commented on Gallacher’s efforts: “Bernard’s experience has shown the life-saving difference of early CPR and use of a defibrillator.
“We are delighted to join him and the PGA in this campaign for every golf club in the UK and Ireland to have their own device.”