Martin Johnson has said the terrifying collapse of Christian Eriksen should be a wake-up call to the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of learning CPR.
The World Cup-winning England rugby union captain is the patron of a charity set up to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). Sudden cardiac arrests kill 60,000 people outside of hospital in the UK each year and Johnson says learning the vital skill of CPR is a “no-brainer” but remains out of people’s minds.
Johnson said: “It’s an easy thing to put aside and think: ‘It’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen to my kid, it’s not going to happen to me, it’s not going to happen to my people.’ But it happens.
“[It] seems like a no-brainer, to teach it to every school kid. But that’s a long game getting that done and it needs to be more out there.”
Johnson is patron of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, set up in memory of the 14-year-old who died from SADS while jogging in 2012. “I know Steve, Joe’s dad, and have done for a long long time,” Johnson said. “We used to play football together at that point and when I got the phone call it was just devastating. [Joe] was on a training run when he died. To lose your boy, it’s a brutal horrible thing and it can jump out and get you from nowhere.”
Johnson has endorsed a new online scheme by the organisation UK Coaching and funded by Sport England to teach CPR remotely. The chief executive of UK Coaching, Mark Gannon, said: “The vivid reality of Eriksen’s collapse and resuscitation last weekend have shown just how fast you need to react in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.
“That’s why we’re encouraging all involved in sport to undertake the free training – 30 minutes of your time could save a life.”