THREE rugby league players are throwing their weight behind a charity which hopes to bring defibrillators to local sports clubs in an attempt to save lives of sports men and women who suffer cardiac arrest while playing writes Andrew Hunt.
Professional rugby league was hit with a double tragedy when Adam Watene and promising young Morley prospect Leon Walker died when playing, while Bradford Bulls star Adam Purtell survived after suffering a heart attack on the field last season.
That has led to Drighlington hooker or loose-forward Scott Murrell, former Dewsbury and Batley forward Adam Robinson and ex-Featherstone Rovers man Tony Tonks backing the Heartbeat of Sport charity.
Tonks, who has signed for Halifax along with Murrell, said: “Heartbeat of Sport want to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and it is the aim to get defibrillators to as many sports organisations as possible, not just rugby league clubs.
“I’ve played professional rugby for 10 years but have never had tests on my heart and speaking to other Super League players it was the same. It is something that has really shocked me and I wanted to get involved to raise awareness.
“That is slowly changing but it is important we raise awareness and we want to get the defibrillators, along with training on them, at the lowest cost possible.
“We have brought Scott and Adam on board to help raise the awareness and let sports clubs know about Heartbeat of Sport.”
Murrell played all his junior career at Drighlington and still lives in the village and he has joined Halifax after a seven year stint at Hull KR.
Robinson played for both Dewsbury and Batley, earning the reputation of being a no-nonsense prop, while former Bulldogs coach Karl Harrison is also supporting the Heartbeat of Sport charity.
Tony Abbott founded the charity after attending last season’s FA Cup game between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers when Fabrice Muamba collapsed but survived against all the odds, thanks in no small part to the treatment he received on the pitch. Tonks added: “Tony Abbott is a big Spurs fan and drove from Halifax to that game and after seeing what happened, he wanted to do something about it for sports clubs
“Karl Harrison is a big fan of getting defibrillators out. He spoke to Tony Abbott about it and was keen for me, Scott and Adam to get involved.
“Many people wouldn’t know what to do if somebody suffered cardiac arrest and would wait for an ambulance to arrive but you only have a 10 minute bracket to save a person. If they receive no treatment they won’t make it but if getting defibrillators to clubs can save a few lives it will be worth it.”
Halifax band The French 75s released a single ‘Believe’ on I-Tunes on Monday and all the proceeds from the song will be donated to Heartbeat of Sport.
For people wanting to know more about the charity, or sudden cardiac arrest, and get information about getting defibrillators into sports clubs visit www.heartbeatofsport.org or following them on Twitter @heartbeatsport