HICKORY, NC – June 1, 2016 – Today Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) presented Bunker Hill High School with an automated external defibrillator (AED) for athletic use Wednesday morning.
“We want to protect the athletes, but also spectators might need (AEDs),” CVMC Director of Sports Medicine Marcus Osbourne said.
AEDs are used when an individual goes into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), Carl Becker, CVMC’s Director of Heart and Vascular Services, said. SCA is when the heartbeat unexpectedly stops, which is mainly caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF).
VF is when there is an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system, Becker said. VF stops blood from accessing the brain, heart and body causing the person to collapse.
“The victim is clinically dead and will remain so unless someone helps immediately,” Becker said. “A quick combination of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and defibrillation can restore life.”
The Sports Medicine Program started in 2002, and CVMC realized schools had a need for helping take care of athletes, Osbourne said.
CVMC has donated AEDs to six schools including Newton-Conover Middle School, Maiden Middle School, Riverbend Middle School, H.M. Arndt Middle School, Challenger Early College High School and now Bunker Hill High School, he said. CVMC added Bunker Hill to their partnership last year.
CVMC focuses on providing AEDs to middle and high schools, Becker said. Some schools don’t have a single AED, he added.
“I am surprised (AEDs aren’t) mandated,” Bunker Hill High School Principal Jeff Isenhour said.
The goal is for schools to have an AED in the school and another one closer to athletic facilities, Becker said.
Schools usually have a main defibrillator for the whole school to use, but in some cases the athletic facilities are too far away from the main building where the defibrillator is stored, Damon Creamer, Bunker Hill’s Athletic Director, said.
Now Bunker Hill can have an AED in both locations to have quicker response time, he said.
“That is a relief off our mind,” Creamer said.
The AED will transport with CVMC’s Athletic Trainer for Bunker Hill, Gregory Kirk, wherever he goes. Kirk said there have been no cases of cardiac arrest at Bunker Hill, but several incidents have occurred at other schools. Out of 17 sports teams, football takes the priority for the athletic trainer, including home and away games, Kirk said. Home games of any sport are the next priority.
Athletic directors, athletic trainers and nurses in schools are trained to use AEDs and to do CPR, Kirk said.