Keep Kids Safe From Commotio Cordis

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The image of a healthy, physically fit athlete in their teens or 20s is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you picture someone dying of cardiac arrest.

But did you know that more than 180 young athletes have died of sudden cardiac arrest while playing sports in the last 15 years? This phenonmenon is called commotio cardis — a condition caused by a sudden blow to the chest by a fast-moving object, like a ball or a puck — and more than half of the time, it’s fatal.

Though it’s not a common household term, commotio cardis mostly affects athletes who play sports like baseballlacrosse and hockey. When a youth receives a blow directly over the heart during a certain segment of their heart rhythm, they go into fibrillation. As if that’s not scary enough, the mean age of victims is only 13.6 years – a sobering statistic for any parent or Little League coach.

Fortunately, there’s an effective solution to this problem: Quick use of an Automated External Defibrillator or AED.

At one time, this would be considered an Advanced Cardiac Life Support action; however, in recent years, AED technology has become a Basic Life Support – or BLS — intervention that’s not just for healthcare providers, but rather is becoming standard equipment on sports teams across the country.

Commotio cordis can happen to anyone: Even completely fit, healthy athletes.

As parents and coaches become more aware of the risks, they’re calling for continuing education and encouraging leagues and teams to implement AED programs.

This year, local Little Leagues including Aptos, Capitola/Soquel and Hollister have added AED programs to their leagues, and Above Bar CPR has provided them with American Heart Association’s Heartsaver AED training. Parents can sleep easier knowing that the children in these leagues have access to early CPR and AED.

Prevention is important, too — for less than $30 you can protect your athlete with a chest protector — but when it comes to Commotio Cordis, AED means the difference between life and death.

Do you think AEDs should be mandatory in Little League and other sports with fast moving balls or pucks?

Source: http://lifeinthefastlane.com/2010/05/commotio-cordis/

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