Golf is one of America’s favored games and this time of yard is easy to understand why: there’s nothing like a finely-cut fairway on a perfect spring day. Golf is a game individual achievement and can be enjoyed by all ages, from the very young to the very old, which may be part of its appeal. It is an exercise in control and individual disciplines – a game defined as much by self-betterment as it is by beating the competition.
Golf as a sport imparts a feeling of elegance and class. It is often played on beautiful courses and accentuated by fancy clubs with limited membership, and it is a sports played with civility – a competition capable of being without physical contact or superiority. Perhaps, it is for that reason that many of golf’s faithful are attracted to it – it is competitive, yet safe, thrilling, yet hardly dangerous.
sStill, golf may pose more risk than some realize. There are several factors surrounding golf that make golf courses the prime scene of a cardiac emergency. For one, golf is a game often enjoyed the elderly since it is one sport that they can be enjoyed with little physical exertion. However, the average member of a country or golf club is in the age group at the highest risk for cardiac arrest.
In fact, many country clubs appealing lifestyle and appealing amenities may contribute to a predisposition for cardiac arrest. Golf carts that minimize physical activity and allow aging members to still pursue the game of their youth, creates a field rife with those in less than ideal cardiovascular health. A drink at the club house followed by an exerting drive on the fairway for someone with an enlarged heart, for example, and you have a cocktail for vascular disaster.
Yet, many golf courses throughout the country still do not possess an automated external defibrillator, or AED – the only method proven to restore a normal heart beat during sudden cardiac arrest.
The fact is that sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA, is still the leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming more than 325,000 lives per year. SCA is also the leading cause of death on the golf course. Cardiac is an electric problem with the heart causes an abnormality in your heart rhythm, causing the ventricles to misfire and beat irregularly. It is most commonly caused by ventricular fibrillation, when rapid, erratic impulses cause your ventricles to quiver uselessly instead of pumping blood.
AED’s are portable, lightweight defibrillators that deliver an electric shock called defibrillation to the heart of a patient in cardiac arrest. The electric shock jolts, interrupting the irregular rhythm and effectively restarting a normal heartbeat in over 60% of cardiac arrest victims. AED’s are affordable and easy to use, even for untrained lay responders.
The American Heart Association strongly advocates implementing an AED program for all health and athletic facilities, as well as businesses, organizations, schools, churches, and other places of public meeting. Many states have even introduced legislation making it mandatory for many types of businesses to acquire and maintain a current AED.
For Golf Clubs, whether your state requires you to obtain an AED or not, it would certainly seem a smart move for the health of your staff and patrons to invest in an AED before an accident occurs. Many retailers, such as Heart Safe Am and AED-SHOP (www.aed-shop.com) offer discounted AED and CPR training packages for golf clubs.
While Americans love playing golf, we also love being protected. Find out if your golf club has an AED in place and encourage management to acquire a current AED program if there’s isn’t one in existence.