The Rise in Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Are You Prepared?

Son to NBA star LeBron James, Bronny James, suffered sudden cardiac arrest on July 24th while participating in his morning workout routine. Young James, entering his first year at the University of Southern California (USC), was attended by medical and athletic staff who could quickly administer an emergency action plan. Using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an automated external defibrillator (AED) on USC’s campus, James recovered in the ICU and is now home with the rest of the James gang. 

Recent Rise in Known Athletes Suffering SCA Events

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who has resumed his career after suffering cardiac arrest (SCA) during a “Monday Night Football” game last season, posted his support for James on social media. Just like young James, quick reaction and medical attention using an AED for Hamlin were vital in his survival. 

A recent rise in young athletes suffering from sudden cardiac arrest has encouraged college campuses and athletic facilities everywhere to prepare for the possibility of a young athlete collapsing. Vince Iwuchukwu collapsed on the course during a summer workout at Galen Center a little over a year before the young James SCA incident. The training staff was able to revive the 7-foot freshman with an AED and save his life. The recent spike in SCA awareness has led to more AED programs and staff CPR/AED training in the sports industry. 

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a medical emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. SCA is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that starts an irregular heartbeat or an arrhythmia. This electrical malfunction disrupts blood flow, which disables the heart to pump blood to the brain, lungs, or other organs. 

While some people may have underlying heart conditions that increase their risk of SCA, it is common for many victims, like the recent young athletes, to not have any prior symptoms or warning signs. For example,
commotio cordis is a common condition that many athletes face that triggers SCA. Regardless, you can still take precautions to prepare and help prevent detrimental outcomes of a cardiac emergency.  

Having an AED within your facilities and access to CPR training for your staff can be vital tools that increase the chances of survival during cardiac emergencies. 

What is an AED?

An automated external defibrillator, AED, is a portable electronic device designed to treat sudden cardiac arrest by delivering an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm. 

The Chain of Survival is a series of essential steps in managing sudden cardiac arrest to increase the chances of survival. The AED plays a crucial role in the Chain of Survival after administering CPR. The American Heart Association recommends an AED should be used as quickly as possible after recognizing sudden cardiac arrest and starting CPR to double or even triple the survival rate. 

Applying the
AED pads to the victim’s bare chest allows the AED to analyze the heart rhythm. If an abnormal rhythm is detected, the AED delivers an electric shock to the heart to restore its regular beating pattern. 

AEDs in Sports and at Large Sporting Events

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) play a critical role in caring for athletes and spectators at larger sporting event settings and university campuses where these events take place.

Emergency preparedness, including the presence of AEDs and staff training in CPR and AED use, is essential to enhance the safety of everyone involved and improve survival rates in case of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) incidents. 

Related Article: Safety Essentials for College Students 

Here are a few key things to consider when planning:

  1. Accessibility and Placement: Ensuring the device is accessible and visible to everyone is key. Identify the high-traffic areas, fields, stands, or gathering spots and place your AED in the center of it. 
  2. Training Programs: All staff, security personnel, coaches, and university employees, should undergo regular CPR, AED, and First Aid training. Having the skillset needed will help ensure they are prepared to handle emergencies and can respond quickly and confidently. 
  3. Emergency Action Plans: Establishing well-defined emergency action plans specific to each sports venue or campus should be a part of the planning process. These plans should outline instructions on AED deployment and CPR training protocols, roles and staff responsibilities during an emergency, the procedures to follow when providing medical assistance, and coordination with local emergency services. 

Athletic directors may want to
shop for AED packages specifically for sporting event locations. When considering the cost of an AED machine, remember prices can vary depending on several factors, including the brand, features, and additional accessories needed. More advanced models with additional features like real-time CPR feedback, Wi-Fi connectivity, or ECG display might have a higher price point. 

If you want to
buy an AED machine, consider your specific needs for your facilities. We can help you pinpoint which AED features and benefits you need with our Buyer’s Guide

Being prepared for sudden cardiac arrest is ultimately a shared responsibility, and having the right equipment and knowledge can make all the difference in saving one of your athletes or a member of the audience’s life.
AEDSuperstore is here to provide you with AED sports packages, CPR/AED training, and any other resources you may need to create a safer environment for your team. 


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