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Coyle backs first-aid scheme

Former Bolton manager Owen Coyle has launched a first aid project that could help grassroots players receive some of the treatment that saved Fabrice Muamba's life.

Last Updated: 18/12/12 at 16:39 Post Comment

Owen Coyle: Saw Fabrice Muamba suffer a cardiac arrest

Owen Coyle: Saw Fabrice Muamba suffer a cardiac arrest

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The Scottish Football Partnership project will teach more than 1,000 coaches in Scotland first aid techniques, including CPR.

Coyle watched on as Muamba underwent the emergency treatment on the White Hart Lane pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham in March.

The treatment helped Muamba make a full recovery despite losing his heartbeat for 78 minutes and Coyle is keen to help others get the chance to pull through in similar circumstances.

Speaking at Hampden in Glasgow, Coyle said: "I was very humbled and delighted to be asked to be involved. I drove up from England to play such a small part today because it's something that I think is very important.

"There are over a thousand places for people to have this training, and if it helps one kid it's fantastic to have that education and be on hand to help in such a situation.

"There are games going on up and down the country all weekend and there might not be people with the right training to deal with the situation. Hopefully this will help."

Muamba was forced to retire from professional football at the age of 24 and has himself promoted similar schemes.

Coyle said: "Fabrice is a tremendous ambassador. He is such an outstanding man, and a very clever lad.

"There will be doors that open for Fabrice and he'll excel at whatever he undertakes. But he knows how important that is.

"He has put himself in many situations to help with similar projects and that's all credit to him.

"Whatever you ask, Fabrice is only too willing to help. That's his nature, he is a very caring young man.

"He will tell you he is only too thankful for all the help he had from the medical staff. And he is only too willing to help in any respect."

The course was developed by Hampden's National Sports Medicine Institute, whose director Dr John MacLean joined Coyle at the launch on Tuesday.

Dr MacLean, also the Scottish Football Association medical officer, said: "Nowadays we are pretty well organised medically at the top end in sport but the beauty of this course is it's designed for the parent or the coach or even the athlete.

"We are really keen to see someone at every pitch, every swimming pool and every athletics track with this training."

The launch comes almost five years after Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell died after collapsing with heart failure in a match against Dundee United.

Dr MacLean believes the new project is another step in trying to prevent similar tragedies.

"The medical team looking after Phil O'Donnell were very highly trained and very competent and Phil had the best of care possible on the pitch and afterwards but still had a tragic outcome," he said.

"The key is we are broadening this out much wider.

"As well as this course, one of the other initiatives, backed by the Scottish Government and Scottish FA, is a widespread cardiovascular screening programme.

"So every young person, male or female, who is active in sport aged 16 or above can get access to free heart screening."

The scheme will help coaches involved in semi-professional football as well as the women's, amateur and youth leagues.

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