The Heartbeat of Football has started its 2017 activities with a Heart Health Awareness Tent at Wentworth Park in Sydney, to educate soccer players about heart health as they head into a new season.

Menzies Scholar and Deputy Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Centre (VCCRC), Professor Jamie Vandenberg, volunteers significant expertise and time with Heartbeat of Football and was one of the experts helping with the testing. The Heartbeat of Football was established to educate sportspeople about heart health and to teach them to perform CPR and use defibrillators.

Late last year a Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grant was awarded to Heartbeat of Football, to enable them to run a program of health checks for mature aged football players at football grounds early in 2017.

At the Wentworth Park event, the team at the Heart Health Awareness Tent made their services available to 204 registered players with the following outcomes:

  • 64 (approximately one third) attended for a health check
  • zero players returned a high blood pressure reading
  • 25% had elevated cholesterol
  • 9% had elevated blood sugar
  • 16% (10 players) were recommended by VCCRI nurses to seek medical review for their elevated cardiac risk.

Operations Manager at the Heartbeat of Football, Deb Shaw, said it was a fantastic first event for the Heart Health Awareness Tent.

“The grant enabled us to purchase the tent with our logo, some smaller items of equipment such as tables and chairs and the hiring of three nurses from the VCCRC for the day.  The remaining funds will now be used to run these health tents on a regular basis at grass root community football events.”