Jamie Carragher has called on the government to change the law to make life saving defibrillators mandatory in all schools

Posted: 9th July 2021

The former Liverpool defender has thrown his support behind a campaign led by Mark King, whose 12-year-old son Oliver died from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) in March 2011.

Carragher, who grew up in Bootle, has now called on Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Health and Education, to meet him in Westminster to discuss making defibrillators mandatory in all schools.

The Liverpool FC legend cited the recent case of Christian Eriksen who collapsed on the pitch while playing for Denmark during the European Championships.

Eriksen’s life was saved thanks to medical staff having access to a defibrillator.

Carragher said: “Oliver King was a promising young footballer when he died following a sudden cardiac arrest in school. His mum and dad have been fighting for a change in legislation since then, in order to make it mandatory for all schools to have lifesaving defibrillators.

“Christian Eriksen’s collapse during the recent Denmark vs Sweden match proved the power defibrillators have to save lives. It makes no sense that they are not required by law in all schools and this needs to change.

“I am stepping up efforts to work with the Oliver King Foundation to campaign for a change in legislation. We’ve written to the Secretary of State for both Health and Education to ask for an urgent meeting with them in parliament.

“We are yet to receive any response but we’re hoping to meet them in the coming weeks.”

The life saving equipment is currently not mandatory in all schools but The Department for Education recommends that all schools have access to lifesaving defibrillators.

Mr King said: “Simply, the current legislation does not go far enough and Eriksen’s case unequivocally served as a reminder of how important the availability of defibrillators are.

“Fortunately, the swift action of his teammates, world-class medical staff, and critically the availability of a defibrillator saved his life. Eriksen was lucky but my son was not.

“Oliver was a brilliant boy who excelled in school and was phenomenal at sports. His hidden heart condition took him from us.

“SADS kills 12 young people every week and yet astonishingly lifesaving defibrillators are not mandatory in all schools.

“Our campaign has received significant support from MPs of all parties and as an organisation we have placed 5,500 defibrillators in schools and organisations across the UK, and have trained over 100,000 people in CPR and the use of defibrillators.

“Our work has saved 56 lives to date and increases each week.

“However, the lives of young people will continue to be put at risk until legislation is changed to make defibrillators a mandatory part of school life.”

Categories: Education SADS