So you thought you were fit & healthy and that excused you from learning CPR? After all it’s just for kids (who choke on all kinds of stuff) and grannies, right?

Well first of all, who do you think does the CPR on the child or the elder person? That’s you, that is…. So get to class. Secondly, being fit doesn’t stop you from needing CPR (so book the rest of your family on a course too).

For some reason, the topic of fit people needing CPR seems to be coming to our attention this week. Let’s start with a personal story (the names have been omitted – you know who you are).

Fit people

Gym patron dies while working out

This (person I know personally) was at her gym recently. This is not a surprise – she’s a person who visits the gym most days. This particular visit she was using the bike for a workout and noticed someone just on the edge of her sight, doing sit-ups and push-ups and all good stuff on a mat. She didn’t give it much thought – that’s why we go to the gym right?

After her biking, and getting ready to leave, she realized this person probably hadn’t moved for about 15 minutes. She pointed that out to staff as she left. It was when she came back the next day and found the gym shut and police (who weren’t there for a workout) that she realized something had happened.

Our favourite part of the story? Her friend was working out on a mat next to this man. She said “I thought he was making a lot of strange noises, so I turned my iPod up.” (Nb: this is not the correct treatment for a heart-attack.)

OK, so any unfit person could turn up to the gym and have a heart attack, so let’s move on to healthier people. You know, trail runners and marathon runners and such. Do we need to point out that Jim Fixx (the guy who made Jogging so popular in America) had a fatal heart attack at age 52 – while out running? You knew that right?

Chain of Survival

Done properly, CPR saves lives

Let’s talk about recent events in which CPR has been used and has worked.
Firstly, with credit to Foil-wrapped runner: On Saturday 10th March 2012 at the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon, a runner collapsed within sight of the finish line.  Quick-thinking runners and bystanders rushed to his aid, found no pulse and that he was not responsive.

A female runner immediately started chest compressions while others called 911. A male bystander took over the chest compressions while the first rescuer rested, and others were willing to take over as each person got tired. It may have been the paramedics or the first people on the scene, but the runner was revived. He was cared for, taken to the hospital, tested, and eventually released.

Even professionals need CPR

Finally, let’s think about a professional level athlete who needed CPR:

Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final. Medics spent six minutes trying to resuscitate Muamba on the pitch after he fell to the ground with no other players around him. It took medical staff two hours to get Muamba breathing again, and they gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as well as trying to revive him with a defibrillator.

Today (19th March) he can breathe independently without a ventilator and he has also been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately. Muamba remains in intensive care.