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Gyms and Athletics

Although gym·goers and athletes are often presumed to be some of the healthiest people, they are still at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). In fact, athletes are estimated to be 3x more likely to suffer SCA than non-athletes. Learn more about the risk of SCA in athletes.

Fortunately, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can save the lives of athletes and gym-goers who suffer SCA. In fact, Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims are over 9x more likely to survive in a gym equipped with an AED than in a gym without an AED! Read about these real-life save stories from every day people who responded quickly in the moment.

Bill Sick and Shawn Sima

AED Rescuer Saves 16-Year-Old at Gym

Bill was exercising on the elliptical at his local gym when he saw 16-year-old Lexi fly backwards off her treadmill. She had collapsed due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest and, for the next 10 minutes until the ambulance arrived, Bill and other lay rescuers in the gym worked to save her life. Listen to Bill discuss this rescue in a conversation with Lexi’s father, Shawn, who is not only a tireless advocate for SCA education but also has saved a life from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Listen to the whole story here.

Mike was a normal and healthy 17-year-old guy in high school. He grew up in a basketball family and his dream was to play collegiate basketball. Throughout high school, Mike had worked tirelessly on his performance, and scouts were finally starting to take notice. Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction until the morning of Thursday, August 24, 2006.

Mike describes that morning as, “just like any other.” He completed a pretty tough workout in the morning, and afterwards went to help out at his dad’s basketball camp, where he was a coach. When he got to camp, he sat on a bench and that’s the last thing he remembers from the next three days of his life. That’s because, after he sat down, Mike slumped over and went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

Read Mike’s story of survival here!

Mike Papale

Normal, Healthy, 17-Year-Old Slumps Over in Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest in gyms and amongst athletes is not a rare occurrence

Check out these staggering fitness SCA and AED facts.


Fitness expert and icon Bob Harper survives cardiac arrest at the gym.


Recently acquired AED saves a life at a Little League game.


Meet more inspiring SCA survivors, family members and rescuers.