Commotio Cordis Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention | AED Superstore
Do You Know the Signs of Commotio Cordis?
Baseball season is here! As players begin to prep for the season, so do coaches and athletic trainers. All athletes have a high risk of injury when it comes to contact sports, however, pitchers, catchers, and batters have the highest risk of commotio cordis due to the frequent chest wall strikes and potential blunt chest trauma from a baseball.1
What is Commotio Cordis?
Commotio Cordis occurs when an object, like a baseball, hockey puck, or even an elbow, strikes the chest directly over the heart during the critical moment of the heartbeat. This act triggers the lower left chamber of the heart to beat abnormally fast stimulating an irregular heart rhythm and sudden cardiac arrest. Commotio cordis is common in young athletes with no underlying heart conditions and can lead to sudden death if not treated properly and quickly.
Commotio Cordis Signs and Symptoms
- Collapses immediately after hit
- No pulse
- Not breathing
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Cardiac arrest
The key is to act fast when symptoms of commotio cordis are detected. If the victim is not breathing and has no pulse, starting chest compressions while someone else calls 911 and locating an automated external defibrillator or AED machine is the first step. For every minute of delay in getting defibrillated, the odds of survival decrease by 10%.2 Combining CPR and AED use within 1-3 minutes of the incident increases the odds of the victim surviving sudden cardiac arrest immensely.
Commotio Cordis Prevention and Preparation
To protect young hearts it’s important to consider the prevention options. It’s recommended to use game materials that are age appropriate such as using soft baseballs for players that are 13 years of age or younger. Chest protectors for pitchers are also effective in reducing the risk of high-impact blows.
However, in contact sports, there are most likely going to be collisions, tackles, and elbows to the chest that could cause commotio cordis, so what can you do to be prepared?
- Educate coaches, parents, and sports staff on the signs of commotio cordis and understand the importance of acting quickly.
- Encourage coaches and players’ families to become CPR and automatic external defibrillator (AED) trained.
- Identify AEDs and where they are located at athletic facilities, fields, and arenas.
AEDs should be available at any organized sporting event within one minute of the field, gymnasium, or arena so that a guaranteed shock can be given within 3 minutes of an athlete’s collapse. It is recommended a team physician, medical staff, or coach should travel with a portable AED to be prepared to help in any situation no matter the location.
AEDSuperstore offers a Sports AED Package that combines all the sports safety features needed to keep sports communities prepared.
Whether you’re a travel team with young athletes or a fitness center that trains them, AEDSuperstore can provide you with super affordable products from super reliable brands. Shop the best AEDs for your team today and protect your community from sudden cardiac death.
DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the AEDSuperstore website/blog is intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.
1 Link, M. S. (2012, April 1). Commotio cordis | Circulation: Arrhythmia and electrophysiology. American Heart Association Journals. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCEP.111.962712
2 Roland, J. (2020, May 30). What you need to know about commotio cordis, an uncommon chest injury. Healthline. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/commotio-cordis#causes