Thomas Faarup was playing old boys’ football with friends in Eskildstrup, Denmark, when he began to feel dizzy. Just a few moments later he collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest.
The referee and two other players rushed to give him first aid, including artificial respiration and heart massage. But what saved Faarup’s life was the decision made months before to place an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the team clubhouse.
Players quickly brought the AED to the field and attached the pads to Faarup’s chest. The defibrillator identified a shockable rhythm and administered therapy that restored Faarup’s heartbeat. By the time the ambulance transported him to the hospital, he was conscious and able to talk.
“Needless to say, I am deeply grateful that somebody was able to render the first aid I needed when I was struck down so unexpectedly. It is rather thought-provoking how lucky I was that this small club happened to have a defibrillator installed – and that this coincidence actually saved my life.. Naturally, both my family and I were very shocked, but the other players, too, have been deeply affected by my accident. Consequently, first aid has become a subject which we have been discussing a lot since then,” says Faarup. “I have been giving life a lot of thought ever since, and I have become very conscious not to postpone things I can do today.”
Subsequent examinations of Faarup have determined that his heart failure was not caused by heart defect or any other physiological defect. He simply belongs to the small percentage of people who at any time may be struck down by sudden cardiac arrest.