Justin Edinburgh suffered a cardiac arrest in a gym with no defibrillator (Image: Getty Images)
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The son of a football manager who suffered a cardiac arrest at a gym with no defibrillator has asked “how many more” people must die before the lifesaving kit is made mandatory.
Leyton Orient manager and former Tottenham Hotspur player Justin Edinburgh, 49, passed away in hospital less than a week after he suffered a cardiac arrest while he was working out.
Now his son Charlie is calling for Justin’s Law to make defibrillators a legal requirement in all gyms and sports facilities, after his dad was forced to wait nearly six minutes for one to arrive from a nearby shopping centre.
Charlie Edinburgh is now calling for Justin's Law
He also backed the Mirror’s calls for legislation to make the kit compulsory in schools and public buildings after it emerged just 5% of 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) each year receive bystander defibrillation.
Charlie, 28, who founded the Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation in his dad’s memory, said: “How many more cases like this are going to happen before they [the Government] stand up and take notice?
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“Is it going to take for one of their loved ones to suffer cardiac arrest and not be in a position where they have access to a defibrillator?
“They’re lifesaving pieces of equipment that are available to us.
“Surely common sense should prevail and they should be installed in the places that they need to be. Because otherwise other families are going to suffer the heartache that myself and my family have suffered.”
Justin was the manager of Leyton Orient when he died
Charlie, who described his dad as his “hero”, has just marked two years since he passed away in June 2019.
He said Justin had “always looked after himself” and had been training for a marathon just months before he collapsed at a gym in Chelmsford, Essex, in front of his wife Kerri.
The 28-year-old said he did not know the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest prior to his dad’s death and had hoped he might be fine after football pundit Glenn Hoddle recovered from a heart attack months earlier.
Justin on the pitch for Tottenham Hotspur with Paul Gascoigne in 1991
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
But without a defibrillator onsite and without effective CPR from staff, by the time they restarted his heart it was too late.
“We lost him five days later – he obviously suffered significant brain damage as a result of the blood not getting to his brain during the period of time that his heart had stopped,” he added.
If there had been a defibrillator at the gym there’s a “every possible chance” he would still be alive today, Charlie said.
Justin was just 49 when he died
(Image: Getty Images)
He told the Mirror: “Some people go into gyms in quite poor physical health and are pushing their hearts to the limit. You can’t really comprehend them not having lifesaving equipment.”
In the wake of Justin’s death, Charlie vowed to prevent other families suffering the same trauma and is fighting for legislation through the JE3 Foundation.
Supported by his mum Kerri, 50, and sister Cydnie, 25, the foundation also fundraises for defibrillators and CPR training.
Denmark's Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest while on the pitch last weekend
(Image: UEFA via Getty Images)
The family watched in horror as Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch last weekend, in scenes which brought it all back for the family.
He added: “For us in our mind the tragic events that occurred with Christian Eriksen on Saturday – it shouldn’t have taken that incident to occur to an elite performing athlete for people to stand up and take notice.
“Over 30,000 incidents like this take place outside of hospitals and if there is not a defibrillator onsite you have a one in ten chance of survival.”
Without a law we are going to “continue to lose lives that could be saved”, he added.