Sudden cardiac deaths are some of the most tragic events in sports. We may never be able to screen for and prevent every heart-related death in young athletes, but there is one piece of equipment that improves the chances of saving the athletes’ lives. Have an AED at games and practices.

It is critical that everywhere that teams practice and play games, there is an automated external defibrillator (AED) close by.

If any facility hosts tournaments or events with large numbers of athletes and spectators, there should be an AED present. Sites for marathons and triathlons with risks of cardiac events should have an AED as well.

Also read:
AED saves the life of lacrosse star

It is critically important for youth sports as well. Any youth sport with a risk of commotio cordis – an injury in which an athlete is struck in the chest by an object that disrupts the heart’s electrical rhythm – should have them available. Baseball, lacrosse and hockey are a few of the sports in which players could suffer commotio cordis.

AEDs can be expensive. Teams and leagues can hold fundraisers to come up with money to try to buy one. They could partner with a sports medicine program or hospital to provide them for games or tournaments. Athletic trainers often carry them as well.

Have an AED at sports practices and games

In this video, I discuss why AEDs are so important and offer thoughts on how teams and schools can get them. I also discuss some key points as to where they should be during sports, who needs to know how to use them and more.