HEARTS youth academy teams now have their own heart defibrillators after the Hearts Youth Development Committee paid over £3000 to provide new equipment.
The HYDC handed over the defibrillators at Riccarton yesterday, prompted by one of their own committee members being brought back to life by one of the machines last year.
Ron MacNeill suffered a cardiac arrest and had to have his heartrate maintained by a defibrillator, which applies electrical therapy to help the heart re-establish a steady rhythm. It ultimately saved his life. When HYDC chairman Calum Robertson approached Hearts to suggest each age-group team be issued with one, the club instantly agreed.
The HYDC supports all Riccarton youth teams from under-11s upwards and has issued each group with a defibrillator to take to all matches. “We wanted all the academy teams to be covered by one,” explained Robertson. “Obviously, what happened to Fabrice Muamba brought it to light, but Ron actually died and was brought back by a defibrillator last year. That made us think about it.
“This helps the academy teams but it may help a parent or even a grandparent on the touchline. We know there are defibrillators at the academy, but some of our youth teams have to play in public parks at times and they may not have those facilities there. This way each team can take the defibrillators with them when they’re away from home. We have a responsibility to all academy teams, home and away.
“We thought it was a good investment. It wasn’t something Hearts asked us for, it was out committee who went to the club with the proposal and they thought it was a great idea. It’s nice for us to give them something to prove it’s not just football equipment or analysis equipment. We can spend money on a wide variety of things. It shows that we have a say as well, rather than just what the academy director wants.”
n HEARTS Young Player of the Year awards dinner, organised by the HYDC, takes place on Saturday, April 6, in the Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle. Guest speakers are the former Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough and ex-Wolves, Burnley and Huddersfield winger Steve Kindon. To secure your seat call 0131 200 7216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org