Defibrillators for clubs

After the death of FC Dinamo’s Patrick Ekeng in May 2016, the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) decided to provide each of its clubs with an external automatic defibrillator.

Dinamo București midfielder Patrick Ekeng passed away after collapsing on the pitch during a match in Romania in May 2016
Dinamo București midfielder Patrick Ekeng passed away after collapsing on the pitch during a match in Romania in May 2016 ©OCTAVIAN COCOLOȘ, FC DINAMO BUCUREȘTI

Following the death of FC Dinamo’s Patrick Ekeng on 6 May 2016 and a thorough inventory of the medical facilities of all its affiliated members, the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) decided to provide each of its clubs with an external automatic defibrillator. The FRF’s medical department identified this as a ‘must’, especially as so few already had such devices of their own.

The FRF wanted not just to hand out the devices but to combine their distribution with education sessions in the form of special seven-hour courses on first aid and how to manage emergency situations that could occur on the pitch during matches or training.

The head of the FRF’s medical department, Dr Mihai Meiu, conducted this educational tour with Dr Ovidiu Cismaru, an emergency doctor who works with the FRF. They started at the FRF football centre in Mogosoaia in December and worked their way around the country, completing their tour at the end of April.

Given the size of Romania, which is not a small country by any stretch, the courses were organised on a regional basis in the cities of Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mures and Brasov – one of which is within a two-hour drive of every FRF member. Each club was asked to nominate a medical specialist to attend and take receipt of their defibrillator on successful completion of the course.

This project, supported and financed by UEFA, was a real first for Romania and according to Dr Cismaru, the instructors were “pleasantly surprised” by the level of take-up and existing knowledge among the club doctors. “All the course participants were well aware of how an external defibrillator should be used in conjunction with traditional resuscitation manoeuvres,” he said.

The initiative was very well received, with almost 200 clubs having taken up the invitation. As a result, around 90% of FRF members now have defibrillators that will help them gain precious time in the event of an emergency.

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No168