Imagine stepping up to the eighth tee at your favourite golf course. You are as far away from the clubhouse as you will be at any other point during the day. Suddenly, you feel intense pain in your chest as you struggle to breathe. You quickly realise you are in the midst of cardiac arrest as you fall to the ground pleading for help.
The scenario described here is not that unusual. Data suggests that golf courses are one of the most common places for cardiac arrest to occur. This, despite the fact that doctors and other healthcare professionals routinely prescribe golf as a form of exercise most people can participate in.
The question posed here is as follows: why doesn’t every golf course in the world have at least one defibrillator? If golf courses are common places for cardiac arrest to occur, it would seem only logical that operators would want defibrillators within easy reach. Furthermore, the introduction of automatic devices in recent years suggests there isn’t any real reason to not have them around.
Golf is an up-and-down game
Prescribing golf as a form of moderate exercise is reasonable. Golfers get in a good walk as well as additional exercise from swinging clubs more than 100 times in a given session – when you account for practice swings. It is a good exercise that isn’t particularly stressing as compared to more intense cardio workouts.
The problem with golf is that it is an up-and-down game from an emotional standpoint. Every moment of elation over a perfectly hit shot is offset by another moment of equally intense frustration. Golfers have been known to completely lose it to the extent that they break their clubs or throw them into the water.
Continual emotional swings in such a short amount of time put a great deal of stress on the heart. As such, people with already weakened hearts are at greater risk of cardiac arrest on the golf course. Yet that is not the worst of it. The most alarming estimates suggest that more than 95% of all cardiac arrest incidents on golf courses are fatal.
AEDs are the solution
Getting back to the scenario this post opened with, imagine it is just you and three other players on the eighth tee. None of them have any experience with either cardiac arrest or first aid. In the midst of an emergency that could very well take your life, all they know to do is stand by and watch. Perhaps one goes back to the clubhouse for help while another attempts CPR, but remember where you are. The clubhouse is a long way to go.
The obvious solution in such an extremely dangerous situation is what is known as the automated external defibrillator (AED). This remarkable device can be used to save a life without any first aid training whatsoever. With an AED at their disposal, the other members of your foursome need not know anything about a cardiac arrest or CPR procedures to save your life. They only need to be able to follow written instructions.
A defibrillator is a device intended to stimulate the heart to resume beating through the introduction of a mild electrical shock. It used to be that defibrillators could only be used by trained professionals. That’s because there was very little room for error with first- and second-generation devices. There is a lot more room with modern AEDs.
Using an AED
Using any of the top-rated UK defibrillators on the market sounds a lot harder than it actually is. Part of what makes them automatic is that the devices themselves monitor heart activity and deliver the necessary impulse on their own. Users do not have to make any decisions. Again, all they have to do is follow written instructions.
Upon opening an AED package, the user is immediately provided with written instructions. Most include illustrations as well. The user simply attaches the monitoring pieces at the correct locations on the patient’s chest and turns the machine on. The AED takes care of everything else. It is a machine that can keep a patient alive until professional help arrives on the scene.
An AED on Every Hole
Every golf course in the world should have at least one AED somewhere on the property. It would be even better to have a device stationed at every single hole. That way, treatment is never far away. Locating AEDs around a golf course is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help golfers suffering from cardiac arrest.
American author Mark Twain once quipped that “golf is a good walk spoiled”. Your average golfer would heartily disagree. But a relaxing round of golf is easily spoiled by a medical emergency. It is all the more reason to outfit golf courses with AEDs.