UH Launches Program to Distribute Lifesaving Cardiac Defibrillators in Northeast Ohio Schools
July 20, 2023
CLEVELAND – With the start of another season of high school football, soccer, cross country and other fall sports just around the corner, University Hospitals (UH) is partnering with the Cleveland Browns, Make Them Know Your Name Foundation (MTKYN) and Kaulig Companies to ensure every school in Northeast Ohio is equipped with the latest life-saving technology and training in case an athlete suffers cardiac arrest.
About 90% of the 350,000 people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year will not survive, according to the last published scientific data. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) drastically increase the odds of survival.
“CPR and defibrillation with an AED is essential to save someone’s life that is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. We know that every minute that passes without a shock decreases the chance of survival by 10%,” said Robert Flannery, MD, UH Drusinsky Sports Medicine Institute physician and assistant physician to the Cleveland Browns. Flannery is part of the coalition that helped pass Ohio House Bill 47 pass. The bill mandates: a specific athletic emergency plan for every high school sport and venue; AEDs on site and within 3 minutes from a sports venue; and CPR and AED training for every coach, in every sport.
“We see that these things work. We want to take what we have learned at the professional level and translate it to high school and youth athletics to make them safer,” Dr. Flannery said.
The device and CPR were both used by the Buffalo Bills' medical and athletic training staff in January to save NFL player Damar Hamlin's life after he experienced cardiac arrest during a Bills' game at the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin’s life-saving emergency care inspired the NFL to start the Smart Heart Sports Coalition that advocates for all 50 states to adopt evidence-based policies that will prevent fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school students.
“When someone is experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest, a well-rehearsed emergency action plan is critical to saving that person’s life,” said Joe Sheehan, Cleveland Browns SVP of Player Health and
Development. “We are thrilled to partner with UH to help ensure that high school athletes in our region are equipped with the necessary resources to provide a safe sports environment.”
The MTKYN Foundation, founded by Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, is donating money for the purchase of AEDs. Ward lost his father to sudden cardiac arrest in 2018, when he collapsed at a spin class, with an unused AED just a few feet away.
“United by our shared vision, the AEDin3 initiative exemplifies the power of collaboration and an unwavering determination to save lives. Our goal is to transform every school in Northeast Ohio into a beacon of preparedness, equipped with life-saving defibrillators and the knowledge and confidence to respond swiftly. Driven by our own personal experiences, we are committed to creating a future where no family endures the heartbreak we have faced, and where no student’s potential is cut short by sudden cardiac arrest. Together, we are champions of hope, driving change and empowering communities to take collective action to make a lasting difference,” said Nicole Ward, Denzel’s mother and President of the MTKYN Foundation.
Part of the AEDin3 initiative is a video component that challenges school athletic programs to conduct drills, getting AEDs to fields and other sports venue areas in under 3 minutes – the goal to most effectively deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to re-establish an effective heart rhythm. Northeast Ohio schools that can’t beat the AEDin3 time limit are eligible for AEDs and training at no cost.
Initial funding for AEDin3 came from Kaulig Enterprises. which also produced the AEDin3 video challenge. The video can be viewed here.
“We are proud to team up with University Hospitals, Cleveland Browns, Denzel Ward, and his family foundation to distribute automated external defibrillators (AEDs) the portable lifesaving device to high schools in Northeast Ohio,” said Matt Kaulig, Executive Chairman of the Kaulig Companies Limited. “At Kaulig Companies we support the well-being of children and their families and know the importance of accessibility to an AED at school and in youth sports clubs. We are excited to launch the AEDin3 Challenge which will empower students across Northeast Ohio to prepare now to save a teammate’s life in the future.”
UH, the Cleveland Browns, Kaulig Companies and The Make Them Know Your Name Foundation will launch the AEDin3 Safety Initiative at a news conference at noon on Friday, July 21, 2023, at the Drusinsky Sports Medicine Institute at UH Ahuja Medical Center, 3999 Richmond Rd, Beachwood, OH 44122.
Tags: Sports medicine