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Heart health service checking the pulse of sport in the Hunter

Easy test: Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute nurse checking the heart health of an Edgeworth Eagles FC supporter.

Fellas, no more excuses.

That is the message from a company bringing free heart health checks to Hunter soccer grounds this weekend.

"Men are reticent to go to the doctor. We are more reactionary than preventative in this space," Heartbeat of Football founder Andy Paschalidis said.

"We want to show people that these tests are quick and easy. We offer advice around what changes to make if you are at risk.

"Of course it's not just men. Heart health impacts everyone."

The Heartbeat of Football Heart Health tour is a partnership with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI) offering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar tests along the east coast.

"We are a one stop shop and the VCCRI nurses offer consultation on the spot."

Since the untimely passing of Shane Warne earlier this year, due to a suspected heart attack, middle-aged men across the country have been forced to reconsider their own hearth health.

For more than a decade, heart disease has been the leading cause of death in Australia and the Heart Foundation estimates one in three Australians are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

VCCRI Heart Health Check Manager, Anastasia Dounas, said the recent death of Shane Warne demonstrated that heart disease can affect us all.

"The last 12 months should be a wake-up call to all Australians," Ms Dounas said.

"We've witnessed one of our sporting legends lose his life far too young, and evidence is emerging that having COVID approximately doubles your risk of having a heart attack in the year after.

"It's more vital than ever that we look after our hearts. Having your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels measured takes just a few minutes but it could save your life."

Heartbeat of Football founder Andy Paschalidis with Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute nurses.

Testing will be set up for four hours from 6pm Friday, May 27, at Fieldsend Oval with Maitland Junior Football Club and again from 11.30am on Saturday at Smith Park with Hamilton Azzurri.

Krissy Marshall from Mayfield United Senior Football Club - who were meant to host the health check last weekend but couldn't due to rain - said players would be "mad" not to take advantage of the testing convenience.

Heart health in sport became a major concern for Ms Marshall when she saw a friend collapse during a soccer game a few years ago. Thankfully, the club had a defibrillator.

"The defibrillator was absolutely the thing that saved his life," Ms Marshall said.

"He was in his mid 30s then and was the fittest guy on the field. It shows that everyone really needs to stay on top of these things.

"These heart health checks are great because they keep the issue at the front of your mind. Plus the tests basically come to you."

Mr Paschalidis started Heartbeat of Football in 2016 after seeing Matt Richardson, a fellow player, collapse during an over 35s game in 2014. With no defibrillator available, Mr Richardson passed away.

Mr Paschalidis said between 2014 and 2016 "15 players and officials suffered cardiac arrest during football matches and only three were saved".

"In the last 11 incidents on football fields in Australia, there have been 10 players saved," Mr Paschalidis said.

"Sadly Andrew Johnston died recently in Maitland playing all-age football with his teenage son. There was no defibrillator."

Heartbeat of football has three key goals. They are an increase in awareness around heart health, the introduction of defibrillators at all clubs and the minimisation of risk through health checks.

"The long periods of inactivity during COVID have increased these risks," he said.

"We are seeing a minimum of one in three people being referred to the GP from the free test and that is really symbolic of where we are at as a community."

The Heart Health tour is funded by grants from the IMB Bank Community Foundation. Applications are open until June 30.