Ensuring AED Preparedness for Sports Clubs and Recreation Centres

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) knows no boundaries and can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. The risk of cardiac events can be heightened in sports and recreational settings, where intense physical activity and underlying medical conditions can contribute to life-threatening situations. As such, it is crucial for sports clubs, gyms, and recreation centres to be adequately prepared to respond effectively to cardiac emergencies, ensuring the safety of athletes, staff, and visitors alike.

AED preparedness within sports and recreation environments is essential, requiring a comprehensive approach that includes having accessible and functional AEDs on site, providing adequate training to staff and coaches, and devising a tailored emergency plan that addresses the unique considerations of these settings. By proactively addressing these factors, sports clubs and recreation centres can create heart-safe environments that contribute to the wellbeing of all who frequent their facilities.

By understanding the importance of AED preparedness in these settings and taking actionable steps towards achieving it, sports clubs and recreation centres can play a vital role in safeguarding the lives of those within their care and fostering a culture of safety and preparedness across the board.

Understanding the Elevated SCA Risks in Sports Settings

Several factors contribute to an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest incidents within sports clubs and recreation centres, including the following:

  1. Intense physical exertion: High-intensity physical activities can place significant stress on the heart, increasing the likelihood of SCA in susceptible individuals.
  2. Undiagnosed medical conditions: Athletes, particularly younger ones, may have unidentified pre-existing heart conditions which can be exacerbated by strenuous exercise, leading to a cardiac event.
  3. High foot traffic: The nature of sports clubs and recreation centres results in large numbers of people using facilities at any given time, raising the probability of someone experiencing SCA.
  4. Environmental factors: Outside sports events or activities may expose athletes to extreme temperatures or other environmental stressors that can impact cardiac health.

Implementing a Comprehensive Heart-Safe Environment

To ensure sports clubs and recreation centres are prepared to handle cardiac emergencies, the following key components should be addressed:

  1. AED Accessibility: Install AEDs in highly visible and easily accessible locations, ensuring that multiple devices are available across large facilities or playing areas. Typical recommended locations include entrance lobbies, sports halls, and outdoor playing fields.
  2. Staff and Coach Training: Equip staff, coaches, and trainers with the skills and knowledge to respond to cardiac emergencies through comprehensive AED and CPR training. Encourage first aid certification and provide ongoing refresher courses.
  3. Emergency Planning: Develop a tailored emergency plan outlining clear procedures for responding to cardiac incidents within the facilities. The plan should incorporate AED location details, emergency contact information (including Australia's main emergency service number, 000), and a protocol for maintaining AEDs and other essential equipment.

Addressing Obstacles in AED Preparedness Implementation

Sports clubs and recreation centres may face several challenges when seeking to implement AED preparedness, including the following:

  1. Budget constraints: AEDs can be a significant investment for organisations with limited funds. It is crucial to prioritise the safety of athletes, staff, and visitors by allocating resources to AED acquisition and maintenance and seeking sponsorships or grants when possible.
  2. Lack of knowledge: Some sports clubs and recreation centre staff may be unaware of the importance of AED preparedness or feel ill-equipped to handle a cardiac emergency. Provide educational opportunities to raise awareness and foster a safety-first culture.
  3. Resistance to change: Organisations may sometimes be resistant to adopting new safety measures, fearing the disruption of existing routines or the perceived complexity of implementing change. Communicate the life-saving potential of AED preparedness and work to facilitate a smooth transition.

Tailored AED Packages and Support Services

Restart the Heart can help sports clubs and recreation centres overcome these challenges by providing tailored AED packages and support services, including the following:

  1. AED selection assistance: Allow Restart the Heart's experienced professionals to guide your AED selection process, ensuring you choose the ideal device for your facility's specific requirements and budget.
  2. Training and education: Restart the Heart offers comprehensive training courses, ensuring staff, coaches, and trainers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to cardiac emergencies and operate AEDs confidently.
  3. Maintenance and support: Receive ongoing maintenance, support, and AED consumables, such as pads and batteries, from Restart the Heart, ensuring your sports club or recreation centre remains at the forefront of heart-safe best practices.


The importance of AED preparedness within sports clubs and recreation centres cannot be overstated. By understanding the risk factors that contribute to cardiac incidents in these settings, implementing comprehensive AED preparedness measures, and partnering with trusted service providers like Restart the Heart, sports clubs and recreation centres can safeguard the lives of those within their facilities.

Taking proactive steps to create heart-safe environments can help to bring peace of mind to everyone involved and foster a culture of safety, preparedness, and care. Through a collaborative approach and continued dedication to these efforts, your sports club or recreation centre can serve as a shining example of prioritising the health and well-being of all who frequent your facilities.

Contact Restart the Heart, your AED supply store, to discuss how we can provide tailored AED solutions to protect the athletes, staff, and visitors at your sports club or recreation centre. Let us help you create a heart-safe environment for everyone involved in your organization.