According to the American Heart Association, approximately 475,000 Americans die from a cardiac arrest every year. Cardiac arrest claims more lives worldwide than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined.
Just ask Kim Imamoto, an athletic director at Pearl City High School, who was able to help save an unconscious football player during practice using an automated external defibrillator (AED). “It’s one of those things that you never want to happen. But if and when it does, you’re glad that you have the proper training and equipment available,” Imamoto said.
AEDs can help restore a normal heart rhythm during a sudden cardiac arrest by sending an electric shock to a victim to restore a heartbeat. The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) and HMSA recently distributed 320 AEDs to 95 public and private high schools statewide in an effort to decrease the number of deaths caused by heart attacks.
“The safety of everyone participating in and attending school sporting events is what matters most,” said HHSAA executive director Christopher Chun. “AEDs have already played a vital role at schools for more than a decade and we’re happy to supply them to Hawaii high schools.”
HHSAA will conduct training on the AED devices, which will be available for coaches and athletic trainers to use during sporting events and practices.
Imamoto says the AED that we used to save the student athlete was from a grant the school received in 2006. “I’m so thankful that we had the AED on hand. I don’t even want to think what would have happened if we didn’t have the AED,” she added. “We’re so thankful to have these AEDs provided to our schools. It really gives us peace of mind.”