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Health & fitness: Heart of the matter - Australian Golf Digest Health & fitness: Heart of the matter - Australian Golf Digest

A new device aims to save lives on the golf course after a sudden cardiac arrest.

Shane Warne’s untimely death at age 52 from sudden cardiac arrest brought inflated profile to a problem that had already been brewing in society and is becoming more prevalent, including among golfers.

Why are exponents of our sport so vulnerable? Underlying health issues common across the age bracket that so many golfers sit within coupled with just the right level of physical exertion while playing makes for a risky combination. There’s also a general lack of awareness placing more people in danger. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that in some instances COVID-19 vaccines have created inflammation of heart tissue and the heart muscle.

In Australia, 486 people die each week from out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), and fewer than nine people per week receive public-access defibrillation using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). SCA can strike anyone at any time, even people who are young, fit and healthy. More than three-quarters of SCAs occur well away from first responders, which is why gyms and other sporting venues are now ensuring AEDs are within easy reach. Golfers and golf clubs should too.

In an extensive feature two years ago, Australian Golf Digest reported how the country’s No.1 killer is striking our fairways and we urged golf clubs to purchase a Heart180 defibrillator at a cost of $2,500 to have on standby. Now you don’t even have to splash out nearly that much to have access to a device that’s also far more portable.

The CellAED® is an easy-to-use device that allows first responders to have the tools and knowledge to act with confidence in the event of a cardiac arrest situation. It is specifically 

designed to be intuitive and easy to use in a pressure-filled situation. CellAEDs cost $359 to buy, with an optional $15 monthly subscription that covers automatic replacements or for when the battery expires.

Louise Dawson, the founder and managing director of DefibsPlus, says that for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by 10 percent – faster than most emergency services can arrive to assist.

“Tragically, this means that only about 14 percent of victims survive,” Dawson says. “The issue with AEDs has been that they’re expensive and often inaccessible. So now we’re solving that problem.

“There’s been an increase in interest over the years to have AEDs on-site at golf clubs, but there’s been the issue that, if it’s in the clubhouse and you’re on the sixth hole, how can you quickly go back and retrieve that device? If we can be quick to defibrillate, the success stories are very different.”

As a result, golf clubs are steadily leaning towards more portable options – including at the best golf course in the land. Royal Melbourne is one club that Dawson says understands the benefits of CellAED devices.

“They’re trying to actively raise the awareness of being able to provide a solution to a concern that a lot of golfers have.

“Golf clubs can lead the way,” Dawson adds. “You’ve got this opportunity to say, ‘Let’s develop a cardio emergency plan.’ It’s about matching the raised awareness in the community at present. There’s
an opportunity to change the stats around this.”

Each golf club will find its own best way to become ‘Heart Smart’. It might be to have AEDs stationed at numerous points on the course or by adding one inside every golf cart. The important aspects are to raise it as a matter that is highly relevant in our sport and then to equip each club and each golf facility with adequate devices to protect members and regular visitors.

We’ve all endured heartbreaking rounds of golf, but there’s no need for that to be the case literally.

Australian Golf Digest readers can pre-purchase CellAED® devices (delivery is available from August) at a $15 discount by using the code AGD15OFF. Find out more at or by phone on 1300 463 334.