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Proper AED Placement and Operator with CPR and AED Certification Save Lives

Will Reduce Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes

A recent article in The Boca Raton News makes the following important points about improving the odds of survival for athletes who experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) by having Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) at every athletic event:

  • Timing is everything.
    • Lives are lost because paramedics are often unable to get to the scene in the 4-minute window it takes to defibrillate a person back to life.
    • "A million things can occur to delay 911 responses, such as traffic and remote locations that make it impossible for a paramedic to get to a victim on time," says Dave Magruder, a former firefighter and paramedic who now trains coaches on using AEDs.
    • "And for every minute a person experiences SCA without defibrillation, his or her survival rate drops by 7 to 10 percent," he said.
  • AED placement/accessibility is key.
    • Magruder stressed the importance of placing the AEDs in reachable locations in case they need to be used. 
    • Too often, Magruder says, AEDs have been placed in an inaccessible location such as a box in the Principal's office.
    • "If you were a parent and your child was in danger, you would want their coaches and teachers to know where the AED is located," he told The News, especially since SCA is on the rise among adolescent athletes. 
    • "The AED device is a great invention, but the problem is that it is not always made accessible to coaches," said Brew Schumer, a middle school PE teacher.
    • Schumer hopes the new AEDs going into the county schools will be placed next to fire extinguishers in all areas of the school.
  • AEDs close to every sports field.
    • Boca Raton pediatrician, Dr. Doug Barlow, believes that every sports field should have an AED at close range, noting that SCA can be triggered by strenuous activity, such as playing a sport.
    • "Having an AED in all schools not only protects athletes on our campus, but it can also save their life on other campuses when they are traveling for away games," says high school soccer coach, Rob Sweeten, who was instrumental in getting two donated AEDs placed at Boca Raton High School after a 17-year old soccer player died of SCA from a congenital heart defect warming up on the field before a game.
  • Using AEDs a "no-brainer."
    • Magruder emphasized how easy AEDs were to use. Using one is a "'no-brainer,'" he said. "All you have to do is listen to the automated directions and look at the pictures [on the screen]." 
    • "The possibility of saving lives will overcome teachers' or coaches' fears of using an AED to defibrillate their student," said Sweeten.
    • "If I were to ever go into cardiac arrest, the AED is so easy to use that my own students could apply one to me," said Austin Lindley, who coaches girls basketball and boys volleyball at a high school in the county.