Emergency response facilities including primary and secondary prevention strategies across 79 professional football clubs in England

Aneil Malhotra, Harshil Dhutia, Sabiha Gati, Tee-Joo Yeo, Gherardo Finnochiaro, Tracey Keteepe-Arachi, Thomas Richards, Mike Walker, Robin Birt, David Stuckey, Laurence Robinson, Maite Tome, Ian Beasley, Michael Papadakis, Sanjay Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIM: To assess the emergency response planning and prevention strategies for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) across a wide range of professional football clubs in England.

METHODS: A written survey was sent to all professional clubs in the English football league, namely the Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2. Outcomes included: (1) number of clubs performing cardiac screening and frequency of screening; (2) emergency planning and documentation; (3) automated external defibrillator (AED) training and availability; and (4) provision of emergency services at sporting venues.

RESULTS: 79 clubs (86%) responded to the survey. 100% clubs participated in cardiac screening. All clubs had AEDs available on match days and during training sessions. 100% Premiership clubs provided AED training to designated staff. In contrast, 30% of lower division clubs with AEDs available did not provide formal training. Most clubs (n=66; 83%) reported the existence of an emergency action plan for SCA but formal documentation was variable. All clubs in the Premiership and League 1 provided an ambulance equipped for medical emergencies on match days compared with 75% of clubs in the Championship and 66% in League 2.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of football clubs in England have satisfactory prevention strategies and emergency response planning in line with European recommendations. Additional improvements such as increasing awareness of European guidelines for emergency planning, AED training and mentorship with financial support to lower division clubs are necessary to further enhance cardiovascular safety of athletes and spectators and close the gap between the highest and lower divisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-817
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number13
Early online date14 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Allied Health Personnel/education
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/education
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac/prevention & control
  • Defibrillators/supply & distribution
  • Emergency Medical Services/methods
  • England
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening/methods
  • Primary Prevention
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Soccer
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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