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Cormac Trust Hopes to up Defibrillator Access

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2004 @ 11:34 am

Ten lives have been saved at Croke Park over the last two years since the stadium was equipped with a defibrillator, it has been revealed.

GAA director general Liam Mulvihill was speaking at the launch yesterday of the Cormac Trust, a fundraising body set up by the family of Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen.

Mr McAnallen (24) died suddenly in March this year when a rare viral condition of the heart struck without warning as he slept at his home in Eglish.

An All-Ireland winner and captain of Tyrone, his life might have been saved had he had access to a defibrillator – a device that massages the heart when it goes into arrest.

The Cormac Trust, which involves Cormac’s family and the Tyrone GAA fundraising group Club Tyrone, aims to ensure that defibrillators – which cost around £900 each – are available to every sports club in Ireland.

Mr Mulvihill said the GAA would throw its weight behind the campaign.

“Ten lives have been saved over the past two years at games here in Croke Park [by the defibrillator],” he said.

“We aim to provide the same facilities in all our major stadia around the country. This is in line with what the medical experts are advising us to do.”

He said research had shown that defibrillators were crucial as the time period for treating heart ailments was so short.

“The time period is literally minutes, so an ambulance is no good. You need [a defibrillator] available and available quickly,” he said.

“The challenge posed to us by experts is to have a defibrillator available in GAA clubs around the country.”

Attending the event in Croke Park were Cormac’s parents, Brendan and Bridget McAnallen, as well as Tyrone GAA icon Peter Canavan and Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll.

Mrs McAnallen said many of the heart ailments that afflicted sports people often gave no warning.

“There are some [symptoms] that are not recognised as dangerous – breathles- sness, dizziness and tiredness,” she said.

“It is very important that people get tested, get an ECG and then maybe seek further heart tests.”

The Cormac Trust is to promote screenings, raise awareness of heart conditions and lobby government health departments.

Pat Darcy, chairman of Club Tyrone, said: “If each community can get a defibrillator, it could drastically improve the health of the country.”

The Cormac Trust is also to announce a special fundraising banquet in Belfast today. Irish rugby player Jeremy Davidson and Glentoran striker Chris Morgan will join Peter Canavan and the McAnallen family at the launch.

The banquet is to be held on Friday February 4 at Armagh’s City Hotel.

You can lodge a donation to the Cormac Trust through the Coiste Chontae Thir Eoghain (Tyrone county board) at the First Trust Bank, Omagh. Sort Code: 93-81-30, Account No: 658 33406.

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