Businessman and boxing fan steps in to donate defibrillator to Group Shoe-Field gymnasium

Luke Fallon (black t-shirt, black shorts) hands over the defibrillator for use at the Team Shoe-Box gym in NorthamptonLuke Fallon (black t-shirt, black shorts) hands over the defibrillator for use at the Team Shoe-Box gym in Northampton

There were disturbing scenes when the midfielder, who plays his club football for Internazionale in Italy, collapsed in the first half of his team’s opening game against Finland.

Fortunately, thanks to the quick action of the medical staff and, above all, the use of a defibrillator, Eriksen was saved and is now well on the way to getting well again.

But it was a reminder that if the heart just stops beating, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time.

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It is reported that more than 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest in the UK each year.

It is not always possible for paramedics to arrive quickly, which makes it all the more important that more and more people have access to a defibrillator, especially in sports clubs where people exert themselves physically.

But there just isn’t enough of it.

And a local business owner who recently donated a defibrillator to the Shoe Box Gym team on Harlestone Road in Northampton believes it is critical that more companies step in to help sports clubs.

The defibrillator in the team shoe box

Luke Fallon is a co-owner of Fed 3, a construction project management consultancy in Northampton, and to keep himself fit he likes to “play around and do some box padding.”

He was previously a sponsor of Team Shoe-Box, the gym founded by boxing coach James Conway in early 2020, and was exercising at the gym’s regular fitness sessions when a serious heartbeat for his business partner Tony Entwistle made him ponder.

“The lockdown happened and I gained a lot of weight and thought I had to get back into boxing,” said Fallon.

“At the same time, my business partner Tony, who had also gained a few pounds, went to soccer at Goals in Mereway and had a cardiac arrest.

The Team Shoe-Box gym on Harlestone Road in Northampton is full of activity all week, offering workouts with a range of professional boxers, as well as fitness and exercise classes for others

“He’s 46 now, thought he was still a young man and could have a few pints at night, and his heart says ‘No, no, we don’t have that’!

“But he was really lucky, because that evening there was also a firefighter playing soccer and another who was being trained on a defibrillator the day before.

“If it hadn’t been for these people and the fact that Goals had a defibrillator, he would have been finished. They believe he was dead for about a minute.

“They brought him around, a defibrillator was used, a kiss of life, and the ambulance came and he was at John Radcliffe in Oxford for a couple of weeks.

The team show boxing gym

“When that happened, and when I started working out at the gym, I started talking to James about a defibrillator and he said that it will soon be mandatory for all gyms to have one.

“So I immediately offered to pay one.

“It’s a story that all fits together, and when I go into cardiac arrest at the gym, which I often face, I’m glad to know it’s there.”

“James and the team here are doing a lot of great things for the community and I just love to help.”

The main problem for clubs is that defibrillators aren’t cheap, starting at around £ 1,000, and with gym and sports club funding already running out, Fallon believes more companies should step in to help if they can.

“I don’t think there is that much money on defibrillators and you have to pay for them,” he said.

The team shoe box gym

“People like James don’t do this to make a lot of money, so I’m happy to help and provide a defibrillator. It’s not cheap, however, and I think there should be more support for sports clubs.

“You’re more likely to see defibrillators now, but I think we need to see them in a lot more places, especially in sports clubs.

“It’s really a no-brainer, especially when people come out of lockdown and say ‘I have to go to a gym’, it just seems like mandatory to me, but that puts pressure on clubs that don’t make a lot of money.

“That’s why it’s important that companies are able to fund them when they can.

“I’m interested in boxing, so we’re open to helping here, but I don’t see other clubs how they can finance a defibrillator without help.

“A lot of these people run these clubs out of love for the cause and for the community.

“These places are better for us than anyone in the pub, so they need support.”

The defibrillator is already assembled and ready for use at Team Shoe-Box, which in addition to a stable of professional boxers also houses other boxing and fitness courses for people of all shapes, sizes, ages and capabilities.

Luke Fallon is a co-owner of the Northampton company Fed 3 Projects