Keeping Your High School Athletes Safe With a Portable AED Defibrillator

Many high school athletic organizations are the core of their schools – supported and celebrated by students, teachers, parents and the community as a whole. Whether it is on the court, field or track, most schools provide uniforms, funding and academic support to their student athletes. In addition, school officials need to make sure they are doing all they can to keep players safe and healthy, whether it be through certified CPR training, providing healthy snacks and water, adjusting requirements for students with special needs, or ensuring their practice and playing areas are equipped with a portable defibrillator. According to the American Heart Association, “The incidence of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in high school athletes ranges from .28 to 1 death per 100,000 high school athletes annually in the U.S.” Tragedies like sudden cardiac arrest are most common among high school students due to the large number of participants and their being more prone to heart-related events.

One high school that knows this too well is Parkview High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Student Antony Hobbs suffered a sudden and fatal cardiac arrest on the basketball court. In an effort to ensure that this type of tragedy never happens again, eMED, a nationwide provider of lifesaving medical equipment, has been actively involved in making sure all schools have at least one portable AED defibrillator readily available. This past December, the eMED team placed defibrillators in each school in the Little Rock School District. Proudly, one of these AEDs was able to save a young man's life. Just weeks after placing all new AED units in the Little Rock School District, Parkview High School basketball player Chris Winston collapsed during a game. After collapsing, Winston stopped breathing and they used the readily available portable defibrillator to bring him back.

That is just one example of how an AED defibrillator is a proven and effective way to combat such tragedies. Unfortunately, the cost of a defibrillator (as low as $1,000) often times stops school districts and athletic programs from providing these life-saving devices. With many states now requiring portable defibrillator, schools may be required to comply and possess the life-saving equipment.

When defibrillators are available, proper training on how to use the device is a key component. The American Red Cross provides training in addition to other life-saving training such as CPR and first aid. According to the Red Cross, its “first aid, CPR and AED programs are designed to give you the confidence to respond in an emergency situation with skills that can save a life.”

Supporting student athletic programs goes well above supplying uniforms, marketing games and encouraging players. School officials and coaches need to proactively ensure their players are safe at all times.