Five minutes – that’s how long I got on the phone with footballer-turned-film star VINNIE JONES the other week to talk about his new Staying Alive Heart Start Campaign for the British Heart Foundation. Not long – but long enough though to catch his drift about the importance of learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques.
A paramedic once told me that for every minute that passes after someone’s heart has stopped their chances of survival drop 10 per cent and yet many of us are too terrified of attempting CPR because we’re worried we won’t do it right and will inflict more harm than good, (incidentally I’ve always been shocked to learn that schools aren’t legally obliged to have defibrillators on the premises – although football stadiums and shopping centres are – but that’s a subject for another blog).
What difference does CPR make?
Last year Vinnie, 47, starred in a video showing how CPR can be performed to the beat of the Bee Gees disco classic Staying Alive – and it received 2.4million views on YouTube. Take a look below.
The BHF say 28 people have contacted them since last year saying their lives were saved as a direct result of Vinnie’s video – something Vinnie is extremely proud of. He told me: ‘It’s quite incredible – and that’s just the 28 we know about. I actually got to meet three people last month who were each saved by someone who had watched the video. One man was actually saved twice – once by a friend who performed CPR and by his fiancée when he suffered a second cardiac arrest. He went on to have a heart transplant and is now doing really well which is amazing.’
Alan Linton was saved by his mates when he collapsed on the golf course – they’d seen CPR on Vinnie’s Staying Alive video and remembered to pump the chest to the beat of Staying Alive.
This year’s video features some ‘mini-Vinnies’ – showing how CPR really is so simple kids can do it too – got to be worth a shot anyway.
Vinnie’s wife Tania had a heart transplant 25 years ago so the BHF is a charity close to his heart. He looks after his own heart by having yearly checks (no problems with blood pressure or cholesterol so far he says), ditching “Geezer” fried food and taking exercise. He says: ‘I’ve always been fit because I was a sportsman and did lots of training – but now I work on action films – I’ve just been filming Tomb with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is due to be released in September 2013 and do my own stunts so it’s very important for me to stay in good condition.
‘I also take long walks – power walking is really effective. I also work out in the gym, I do some weights, treadmill and boxing. I love to play golf and fish. I’m a very outdoorsy type.’
If you want to find out more about CPR – sign up for a British Heart Foundation Heart Start course http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/how-we-help/training/heartstart-uk.aspx.