Sunderland AFC supporters branches first aid drive after violence following Millwall match

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A Sunderland AFC fans group is doing its bit to ensure supporters’ branches have life-saving first aid on hand.

Sunderland AFC Branch Liaison Council (BLC), who also run the match day mental health hub, is now helping fans with their physical as well as mental health, with a special first aid session at the Beacon of Light.

On Sunday, April 30, the day after Sunderland’s final scheduled home game, they will gather at the Beacon where a first aid training session will be delivered to branch representatives.

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The idea came about between branch members when Sunderland supporters were attacked by thugs after a game at Millwall on February 4.

The SAFC Branch Liaison Group's initiative could save the lives of fans.The SAFC Branch Liaison Group's initiative could save the lives of fans.
The SAFC Branch Liaison Group's initiative could save the lives of fans.

Mal Green, who runs the Cleadon supporters branch, administered first aid to a young Millwall fan until emergency services arrived.

On March 12 another Sunderland supporter assisted a Norwich City fan, who had suffered an anaphylactic shock when leaving City’s Carrow Road stadium.

Sadly, head injuries cost a Blackpool supporter his life following a fight between Blackpool and Burnley fans outside a pub in March.

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The SAFC Branch Liaison Council is made up of over 40 branches who transport thousands of supporters to and from home and away games each season.

Committee member Joanne Youngson contacted fellow Sunderland fan John Quinn, founder of MediCover UK Ltd, who has agreed to deliver the emergency first aid session free of charge.

The session will cover basic first aid including recognising a heart attack and stroke, choking, CPR and anaphylactic shock.

The BLC says the football community has come together to make the event happen, with the Foundation of Light giving the group a room for the day free of charge.

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Travelling fans spend a great deal of time together. At any moment someone could become ill or suffer an injury, so basic first aid knowledge could be crucial.

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Cath Reid, BLC secretary, said: “We feel it would be beneficial to have as many fans within our branches who would know how to respond in an emergency.

“Quite often time is of the essence and it may be that assistance is needed only until the emergency services arrive.”