When Danish international footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during a European Cup match last week, medics rushed to the field and used a defibrillator to restart his heart.
Defibrillators are used to try to restart a heart or put it back into the correct rhythm, but until a few years ago, they were rarely found in suburban sporting grounds.
That changed after the sudden death of St George footballer Matthew Richardson, who collapsed after suffering a heart attack during the second-half of an over-35s football game in June 2014.
Despite the best efforts of a player and doctor who performed CPR until paramedics arrived, he could not be revived. He was just 43 and left behind wife Kylie and three young children, then aged 7, 11 and 13.
Kylie Richardson was at home at Illawong when she received the call.
"We had moved house on the Friday and I got a call from the club president who told me to go to hospital," she said.
When she arrived at St George Hospital she was told her husband had died.
Mr Richardson had a family history of heart disease and was under the care of a cardiologist but nothing had been detected at the time of his death. It was later found he had ischemic heart disease.
"He was fit and healthy," Mrs Richardson said. "He was not new to exercise."
His club, Forest Rangers FC at Peakhurst, and Lugarno Football Club came together the following year to launch the inaugural 'Richo Cup' in memory of the player, coach, committee member and community volunteer.
The aim was to raise money to purchase defibrillators for all 24 football clubs in the St George Football Association.
This was achieved the first year after the football association chipped in half the money.
Money raised from the day since then has gone to St George Hospital's Cardiology and Coronary Care Unit and the Heartbeat of Football charity.
This year's event was held at Gannons Park, Peakhurst, on Monday, June 14, and included two extra special teams.
"This year is the first time St George Hospital entered teams in the competition, with both men's and women's teams eager to join in for such a worthy cause," Mrs Richardson said.
"The St George cardiac teams comprise doctors, nurse technicians and other members of the cardiac team.
"The event is a great example of hospital and community partnership. Even the director of cardiology pulled his boots on."
St George Hospital Cardiology and Coronary Care nurse unit manager Juliette Sheahan said staff were thrilled to take part.
"We see first-hand how much patients benefit from the equipment purchased with funds raised at the Richo Cup and everyone from the cardiology team was eager to join such a worthy cause by entering the competition," Ms Sheahan said.
A South Eastern Sydney Local Health District spokeswoman said the Richo Cup had raised $30,000 for the hospital in previous years.
"The proceeds of the 2019 event contributed to the purchase of a V60 Plus Ventilator, the first of its kind to be bought for the unit," she said.
"It is a dual function ventilator, doing the job previously done by two separate machines and assists patients who are having difficulty breathing due to heart problems."
Mrs Richardson visited the unit last year with Rebecca Nolan of Forest Rangers FC and Sue Dick of Lugarno FC to see the ventilator and meet staff.
"We are so happy to have been able to donate $10,000 towards the purchase of this new ventilator thanks to the generosity of our local football players and their families," she said at the time.
"It's great to come and learn about the machine and understand how vital equipment like this can really help people."
She said they had hoped to raise $10,000 at this year's event, but surpassed that goal.
"We are still finalising funds raised on the day but expect it to be in excess of $15,000," she said.
Mrs Richardson said she was pleased something good could come from such a tragedy.
"Being involved in the Richo Cup and raising heart health awareness in the community means a lot to me and my family," she said.
"We miss Matt every day but we can't change the past.
"If our efforts contribute to preventing another family losing someone to heart attack through greater awareness of heart health then something positive will have come out of this tragedy."
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