Cricket NSW has joined forces with the nation-wide Community Heart Program alongside the charitable initiative, Heart of the Nation.

Australian Cricket clubs and associations have linked with Community Heart Program to create awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and to access a platform to enable them to fundraise for Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), which are a vital link in the chain of survival when dealing with cardiac arrest.

Recognising the need to support the community, Cricket NSW is encouraging clubs throughout the State to sign up to the program as, according to recent studies, an AED can increase someone’s chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest to around 70%.

Cricket NSW will join with Cricket Australia and Heart of the Nation to work alongside Stryker to deliver the program. Stryker is a medical technology company which manufactures AEDs and a range of other medical devices.

Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said cricket’s involvement in the program was potentially lifesaving.

“A lot of people play cricket and it’s a sport that can be played into a much older age when compared to other team sports. Both factors are linked to an increase in the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Cricket is also different to a lot of other sports in that clubs and their teams can often be playing at multiple venues, all at the same time.

“We’d love to get to a point where every cricket club in New South Wales has a defibrillator and players can have timely access to an AED, regardless of the venue they are playing at.

“We believe this program will provide a platform to assist clubs in raising the necessary funds to purchase AEDs and we urge local clubs and associations to give this the attention it deserves,” he said.

Greg Page, the original Yellow Wiggle and founder of Heart of the Nation, is passionate about raising awareness around the importance of having an AED readily available, after having gone through his own experience with sudden cardiac arrest.

“Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere, any time – it doesn’t always pick the most obvious victim, and it doesn’t care what you are doing when it strikes,” Page said.

“A lot of people may know that I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest whilst performing with The Wiggles – however, what a lot of people may not know is that the very next day, I was due to be playing cricket. Had I been on the cricket field instead of a venue with an AED, the outcome may have been very different.”

“It’s great that we (Heart of the Nation) can work with Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia to deliver the Community Heart Program.

“We know that during physical activity, the demands placed on the heart are increased. We want to make sure that we continue to educate and empower the community so that if they are ever the first responders on site at local sporting clubs, they have the knowledge and the equipment to save a life,” Page said.

Clubs wishing to find out more information about the Community Heart Program can visit:
https://au.communityheartprogram.com/cricket-australia

In addition, local clubs and indoor cricket centres around Australia will be able to access funds to purchase AEDs with the Australian Cricketers' Association and Cricket Australia supporting the program through the national Grassroots Cricket Fund (GCF).

Australia’s professional cricketers announced this week they will provide $3.5 million from the GCF this season to support community cricket and help nurture the next generation of players.

Grants of up to $3500 will be made available to clubs and indoor centres that can be used to purchase cricket equipment, including AEDs. The GCF is also contributing $1 million this season to the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund (ACIF).

Clubs can head to www.grassrootscricketfund.com.au to apply for a volunteer and equipment support grant and further information about how your club can apply to the ACIF.