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Call for defibrillators at every football ground after Christian Eriksen cardiac arrest

Written by on 14 June 2021

Following the cardiac arrest of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen on the pitch, the brother of a teenager who died playing football has renewed his call for defibrillators to be made mandatory at all grounds.

Ten years after his 19-year-old brother Kyle died playing football, the death of another young player prompted Astley Mulholland to campaign for defibrillators at all football grounds.

“I was watching the Denmark game with my girlfriend and, to be honest with you, I was on the verge of tears,” Mr Mulholland said.

“Seeing Christian Eriksen on the floor brought it all back, and made me think that more still needs to be done to keep players safe at all levels of the game.”

Astley Mulholland's brother, Kyle, died while playing football aged 19 Image: Astley Mulholland’s brother, Kyle, died while playing football aged 19

Manchester United fan Kyle collapsed and died in 2005 during a game of five-a-side in Merseyside. Before that, he had seemed perfectly fit and healthy.

Mr Mulholland, who plays for Trafford FC in Manchester, says losing him was a massive shock to the family, which they still haven’t fully come to terms with.

The petition he set up five years ago to get the FA to provide defibrillators came after the death of another young player, Shaw Cross’s Daniel Wilkinson.

It gathered 40,000 signatures – 100,000 are needed to force the government to discuss the issue in parliament.

Eriksen appeared conscious as he was stretchered off. Pic: Getty Image: Christian Eriksen collapsed during a Euro 2020 game on Saturday. Pic: Getty

His call for action has now been promoted on social media by Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, and Mr Mulholland hopes that the high-profile endorsement may breathe new life into his campaign.

“The survival rate for people receiving CPR after a cardiac arrest is around 60%,” Mr Mulholland said.

“But with a defibrillator as well, the survival rates go up to 74-80%.

“That’s a massive difference and shows how important it is for this equipment to be available at all levels.”

Astley Mulholland launched the petition five years ago Image: Astley Mulholland launched the petition five years ago

Ideally, he would like to see the FA legislate that all grounds should have first aid equipment, including the defibrillators, which cost between £800 and £2,500, and CPR-trained first aiders.

“At all levels, players are paying fines for things like red cards and yellow cards,” he said.

“So maybe some of that money be used to help finance defibrillators.”