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Club doctor backs Newcastle United Foundation's Restart a Heart campaign in schools

Newcastle United’s club doctor, Dr Paul Catterson, has given his support to an initiative that sees Newcastle United Foundation delivering CPR training to schoolchildren.

Restart a Heart classes equip youngsters with the skills and confidence to give potentially life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to anyone who needs it.

Newcastle United Foundation staff received comprehensive training from the North East Ambulance Service earlier this month, working with resuscitation mannequins and defibrillators at St. James’ Park.

They have since taken their training out to primary schools across Tyneside, introducing pupils to emergency first aid procedures not generally taught even to adults outside first aid courses.

Magpies’ club doctor, Paul, came to see the Restart a Heart campaign in action with a Year 6 group at St Joseph’s RC Primary School in North Shields.

Paul Catterson said: “I’m so pleased to see children being equipped with the knowledge and confidence to perform CPR in the unlikely situation that a relative or friend might need help.

“The schoolchildren are being taught how to carry out chest compressions with hands-only CPR and what instructions to expect from an AED (automated external defibrillator) – they’re really vital skills to have.

“We hope these young people will never have to use this training, but should they be in an emergency situation, they will know what to do until paramedics arrive thanks to Newcastle United Foundation and the North East Ambulance Service.”

Restart a Heart is a global initiative, developed by the European Resuscitation Council, raising awareness of the importance of teaching members of the public how to help someone suffering cardiac arrest.

St Joseph’s pupils heard how currently less than one in 10 survive cardiac arrest in the UK, but the earlier a patient can receive CPR and a shock from a defibrillator, the greater their chance of survival.

As the official charity arm of Newcastle United Football Club, Newcastle United Foundation is leading the way in delivering this crucial training, supporting their work in schools to deliver educational and physical activities for the next generation.

Adam Herczeg, Newcastle United Foundation Senior Project Officer, said: “We are really proud to be offering CPR and defibrillator training to children and school staff as part of our Premier League Primary Stars programme.

“It doesn’t take long for classes to learn the skills they need and it’s important to us that we make sure they’re confident enough in their ability to administer CPR if they’re in an emergency situation.

“It could be that some of these children are around family members or friends with chronic health problems or who have an accident at home or out playing. By completing this Restart a Heart training, they’re going to be prepared to deal with medical emergencies, even when some adults aren’t.”

He added: “The North East Ambulance Service delivered some really in-depth first aid training for us at St. James’ Park, and since then we’ve been supported by the Trust and volunteers to come out to schools and teach them what we’ve learnt.”

NEAS Community Development Officer, Alex Mason said: “Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone of any age at any time and sometimes children are the only source of emergency help.

“CPR is incredibly easy to deliver but we understand people don’t always find it easy to start CPR, either because they’re not sure how or think they may hurt the person. However, the chances of survival and the quality of life thereafter are vastly increased if CPR is started as soon as possible, as every second counts.

“Our health advisors are great with reassuring and helping children over the phone until an ambulance crew arrives but if children know how to perform CPR, they could help save their relative or friend’s life.

“Our community resuscitation team work up and down our region to support our local communities and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to help save lives in their local area. It’s great to be able to work with NUFC Foundation to create our next generation of lifesavers.”

Earlier this year, Paul received the Exceptional Service Award on behalf of the Football Medicine & Performance Association, highlighting the importance of first aid training.

The Magpies’ club doctor was one of three medical professionals who rushed to the aid of former Premier League referee who suffered a heart attack ahead of Newcastle’s match at Burnley in November 2018.

After collapsing in the tunnel at Turf Moor prior to kick-off, retired match official Eddie Wolstenholme was treated by Paul and two other doctors before being taken to hospital. He underwent heart bypass surgery and has since made a full recovery.

For more information on Restart a Heart in schools
Email adam.herczeg@nufc.co.uk

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