Automated External Defibrillators (AED) placed on school campuses have saved thousands of lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Research has proven that SCA survival rates can be as high as 70%, which is 7x higher than the national average, on school campuses that have AEDs. These “saves” have been people of all ages and at all times of the day, whether it’s during school hours, after school, or even at a non-school-sponsored activity hosted on campus.
While there are countless save stories that could be shared, we’ve chosen to highlight a select few that demonstrate how immediate action, coupled with an accessible AED, are vital to saving a cardiac arrest victim’s life. These stories show that, simply put, AEDs in schools protect the entire community and prevent the tragic loss of life.
(Valencia, Santa Clarita, CA)
In the Fall of 2013, the Valencia High School basketball team was practicing after school when Chibuzo Ikonte, a sophomore on the team, suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness.
Thankfully, Valencia High School has a unique Medical Science Academy that prepares its students for emergencies just like this by certifying all of them in CPR and AED use. Luckily, one of Chibuzo’s teammates, Nick Cromidas, was a student in the Academy and he took action.
Nick immediately began performing CPR and instructed his head coach, Rocket Collins, to run to one of the Academy’s classrooms (which was less than 30 seconds away from the gym) to get help, and more importantly, to retrieve the AED located in that room.
Coach Collins ran into the classroom and yelled to the students there that he had a player who was unconscious. Two students in the Academy, Michael Monteleone and Colton Morgon, were CPR/AED trained like Nick and knew exactly what they needed to do. Without hesitation, they immediately grabbed the AED and ran to the basketball court where they saw Chibuzo laying lifeless. While Nick continued to perform CPR, Michael and Colton quickly set up the AED and used it to deliver a single life-saving shock to Chibuzo’s heart which quite literally brought him back to life before Emergency Medical Services even arrived on scene.
What’s amazing about this story is that the people who took immediate action and are responsible for saving Chibuzo’s life are three of his fellow students. Not only does this story show the value of having AEDs readily accessible on campus, but it also demonstrates that people of any age can be empowered to use AED units to save a life.
Taevone Johnson, an 18-year-old football player, was having a normal day at school; he went to class and then football practice.
During practice, Taevone’s day became anything but normal when Assistant Coach, Chuck Mardis, found Traevon slumped on the ground and unresponsive. Page High School’s athletic trainer, Lindsey Braddock, came over and noted that Taevone wasn’t breathing normally and he didn’t have a pulse. Braddock knew she had to take immediate action if Taevone had any chance of surviving, and so she called out to one of her student trainers to grab the AED from her cart while she began performing CPR.
The AED arrived seconds later, and Braddock urgently delivered a shock to Taevone. Following the AED voice instructions, Braddock and Mardis continued CPR for the next five minutes and were finally able to get Taevone’s pulse back. By the time EMS arrived, Taevone was breathing on his own.
The primary reason Taevone survived is because Braddock made sure that she brought an AED with her to all school sports practices and games. If that AED was instead located somewhere on campus in the athletic trainer’s room, in the gym, or in some distant building, it’s quite possible that Page High School would have witnessed Taevon’s death right on their field. By having “mobile “ AEDs that are carried around campus, schools can better prepare for Sudden Cardiac Arrest by ensuring a life-saving defibrillator is nearby.
One spring evening, Steve Tannenbaum was playing softball with his friends on a field at a school. And that’s the last thing that he remembers from that day.
While Steve was sitting in the dugout, he suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Steve’s friends immediately called 911 and started CPR. Steve notes that “they didn’t really know what they were doing” when referring to the quality of the CPR that his friends performed.
Fortunately for Steve, that evening there was a class at the school and a number of parents were in the parking lot waiting to pick up their students. As Steve’s friends were frantically trying to help him, two mothers (one a nurse and the other a retired EMT) were in the parking lot and, upon hearing about the emergency, ran over to perform CPR.
Shortly after, a police cruiser arrived with an AED unit, and the device was used to deliver three shocks to resuscitate Steve. Once he had recovered, Steve was told just how lucky he was to be alive. Miraculously, it only took 3-5 minutes from the time he collapsed to the time he received the first shock from the AED. That quick action is a big part of why Steve is still alive to tell his story.
Schools are at the core of most communities as, on a daily basis, they play host to numerous school-sponsored and non-sponsored events — such as Steve’s friendly softball game. This goes to show that AEDs on a campus can save more than just a student’s life. Steve’s story demonstrates the importance of schools ensuring that AEDs are accessible at all hours of the day — especially if guests are allowed to utilize their facilities after school hours.
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