14 Feb 2024
© Presseye Neil Coleman (NIFL), Stephen McDonnell (Glenavon), Sharon Kennedy (Glenavon) and Fearghal McKinney (British Heart Foundation) at the launch of the partnership

More than 1500 Irish League football players and coaches and almost 10,000 supporters in Northern Ireland will be given the opportunity to learn vital lifesaving skills during Heart Month in February.

The Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) has teamed up with the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) to promote the charity’s free and innovative online CPR training tool RevivR.

There are over 1,400 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in Northern Ireland. Tragically, less than one in ten people survive, a statistic the BHF is determined to improve by giving everyone the opportunity to learn CPR.

Glenavon is the first football club to receive the RevivR training this week and BHF NI are working with all 38 men’s clubs and 10 women’s clubs across the NIFL family to encourage CPR education this month.

The BHF’s RevivR programme enables organisations and individuals to learn CPR in 15 minutes for free, teaching users how to carry out chest compressions and use a defibrillator with confidence. All that’s required is a smartphone or tablet and a cushion.

Glenavon manager Stephen McDonnell said: “As someone living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I am very aware that learning CPR can make the difference between life and death in the event of a cardiac arrest.

“I’m delighted that the CPR training has kicked off at Glenavon and I would encourage all clubs and supporters across the Irish League to take 15 minutes to do the RevivR training and be prepared for any situation whether at home or on the football pitch.”

During the month of February the new partnership will also aim to raise awareness of heart and circulatory diseases with around 225,000 people in NI currently suffering with some form of heart or circulatory condition.

Promotional activities will be taking place at six Irish Premiership matches across the weekend of 23rd and 24th February as Larne take on Glentoran at Inver Park, Crusaders clash with Glenavon at Seaview, Linfield meet Ballymena United at Windsor Park, Dungannon Swifts host Cliftonville at Stangmore Park, Loughgall entertain Carrick Rangers at Lakeview Park and Coleraine travel to Newry City's Showgrounds.

Neil Coleman, Head of Communications and Digital Innovation at NIFL, said: “With recent high profile cardiac arrests within the football community, we feel it is vitally important to raise awareness and educate players, coaches, staff and supporters about the prevalence of heart conditions and associated risks.

“Our main focus in our partnership with BHF NI is on what we can do to help the football community be able to take action if they are in a situation which required lifesaving, through learning CPR”, he added.

In recent seasons, NIFL has supplied all member clubs with defibrillators and the new partnership continues the league’s ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of players, club officials and supporters at every stadium.

Fearghal McKinney, Head of BHF NI, said: “Around 225,000 people in NI currently live with some form of heart or circulatory condition, so it has never been more crucial to continue our fight to save and improve more lives by investing in lifesaving research.

“Partnering with NIFL offers us a huge opportunity to reach not only players and coaches but communities throughout Northern Ireland to help them become lifesavers.

Fearghal added: “I would encourage all football players, coaches, staff, volunteers and supporters to take 15 minutes, the length of half-time in a football match, to learn the skills to help save a life.”

To support the British Heart Foundation this Heart Month and find out more about RevivR, visit To try RevivR, go to