Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison is encouraging sports clubs and local councils to ensure they submit applications for the Local Sport Defibrillator Grant Program.

The necessity of the vital lifesaving device has been highlighted in the wake of Knights legend Tony Butterfield’s near-death experience at Newcastle’s No. 2 Sportsground.

As the retired footballer laid on the floor of a sporting shed the vital lifesaving tool was nowhere to be found despite best efforts.

Ms Aitchison is encouraging all sporting clubs to submit their application before the May 6 deadline to access the pool of $4 million and ensure that players and spectators alike have an improved chance of survival should they have a medical episode.

“There is only a short period of time left before applications close and I encourage all eligible clubs to apply for this lifesaving device,” said Ms Aitchison.

“If we can prevent the loss of life through better access to defibrillators at all sporting grounds that is a good thing.”

“The recent events involving Tony Butterfield act as a wake-up call as to how precious life is and how a simple device that can be provided through a grant can save many lives.”

Each year in Australia over 20,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital and their best chance of survival is through the use of a defibrillator.

“It is unacceptable that this vital technology exists but there are accessibility issues. We know that there are significant increases in survival rates if a defibrillator is used within the first few minutes and I would like to see as many rolled out through our community as possible.”

Without access to a defibrillator during cardiac arrest, statistics show that there is less than a five percent chance of survival. When a defibrillator is used within the first few minutes there is a 70 percent greater chance of survival.

Applications and further information can be accessed through https://sport.nsw.gov.au/clubs/grants/defibrillator.

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