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Golf courses get jump start
Golf courses get jump start
By Chris Lackner
Plaid shorts. A nine iron. A birdie. A defibrillator?
It might not sound like a golf term, but a number of Canadian golf clubs are installing defibrillators to help prevent deaths from cardiac arrest.
Tim O'Connor, director of communications for ClubLink Corp., said since golf courses were one of the most common places for heart attacks, ClubLink courses were installing defibrillators to help save members' lives.
He explained a defibrillator was a portable device which shocked the heart to stabilize its rhythm once a person had gone into cardiac arrest. ClubLink, which owns over 30 golf courses in Ontario and Quebec, purchased 16 defibrillators, each at a cost of $7,000.
Anthony Graham, medical spokesperson for The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, said he encouraged greater access to defibrillation. He explained that knowledge of CPR and training in the use of a defibrillator could save lives.
"If they save somebody, then they're worth it," said John Schidowka, general manager for Oaks Golf and Country Club in London. Schidowka explained his management staff would receive a demonstration on the proper use of defibrillators at an upcoming meeting.
Chris Neale, director of operations for Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, a ClubLink course, said his course was used in a trial run for defibrillators. "Fortunately, we've never had to use them," Neale said.
"The problem is that most golf courses are on the periphery of a metro area," O'Connor explained. "Some people are miles from the clubhouse, but they need medical help within 10 minutes of a cardiac arrest. The brain can't survive much longer without oxygen."
O'Connor explained ClubLink would train 10 senior staff members at all properties where defibrillators were installed. "There will always be someone who knows how to put the device into use," he said. "Reaction time is key."
Schidowka said he had some problems with the issue of defibrillators. "Liability is a concern," he explained. "Sure it would be great to have the machine. It could save lives, but what if it doesn't? Who is held responsible?"
Steve Harriman, director of golf operations for Pine Knot Golf and Country Club in Dorchester, said because his course was public and not private they did not have the funds to purchase a defibrillator.
"It's about 20 to 30 minutes between us and the nearest hospital. If anybody goes into cardiac arrest around here, I'll be giving them CPR with my own two hands," Harriman said.
"The golf industry owes it to it's patrons to help save lives," O'Conner said. "If we save one life we'll have made a good investment."