Defibrillators are essential, every club should have one
The Rugby Paper|August 29, 2021
I want to use my column this week to discuss an issue which is both incredibly important and also very close to my heart and that is the importance of every Welsh rugby club having a defibrillator.
SHANE WILLIAMS

The tragic death of Alex Evans, who passed away last weekend after playing for Cwmllynfell, has shocked me hugely because I know the club very well. I also knew of Alex which is very upsetting.

Cwmllynfell is only four miles or so away from where I live with my family and his passing has left the community in our valley incredibly distressed. It is heartbreaking.

There has been a bit of talk in the media in the wake of Alex’s death about the need for defibrillators and I feel it’s vitally important for me to add my voice to that debate.

Unfortunately, I’ve had previous experience of rugby players and loved ones having heart trouble so my comments in this piece come on the back of not only the present, but the past too.

Not many people know this but when I was playing in junior rugby, I had a friend called Craig who collapsed and passed away while we were playing.

I have also seen my father have a stroke on the back of being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat – something I found out several years ago that I also have.

That’s some context for you.

Now, it’s important to point out the details of Alex’s case. He was only 31. Life can be so cruel. Alex left the field during Cwmllynfell’s game with Crynant after feeling unwell. Paramedics tried to help save him with a defibrillator, but unfortunately, he died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

A defibrillator couldn’t help save Alex, but it at least gave him a fighting chance. All Welsh rugby clubs need to be equipped with one so they can be ready for the worst-case scenario.

I really believe it’s vitally important and hopefully, if some good can come from Alex’s death, it is that Welsh rugby comes together to ensure defibrillators are made widely available.

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