Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes, which is why the placement and use of automated external defibrillators (AED) in the community should be encouraged to enable defibrillation within the first minutes after a ventricular fibrillation (VF) sudden cardiac arrest.

Although regular exercise helps strengthen the heart and lowers the risk of cardiovascular problems long-term, too much exercise does increase immediate risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. That’s especially true for people who are already at higher-than-normal risk, either because of lifestyle or genetic factors.

SCA during sports most often occurred during low-intensity activities. Prompt intervention within 1 minute demonstrated a high survival rate and should be the standard expectation for witnessed SCA in athletes.

This is why having a defibrillator at your GAA pitch or sports ground can greatly improve the survival rate when sudden cardiac arrest actually happens.

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