AED policies reexamined after Damar Hamlin injury

CPR and AED training can save lives in an emergency.
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 10:17 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The collapse of Damar Hamlin has highlighted the importance of having an automated external defibrillator or AED around when sports are being played.

AEDs can be lifesaving devices and every second counts when someone is in cardiac arrest. However, while they are usually always around for middle or high school sports, it’s not the case for much younger athletes.

Time stood still Monday night as the country watched athletic trainers and paramedics tend to Damar Hamlin.

“Personally, I just got a massive pit in my stomach that really hasn’t left. That is an athletic trainer’s worse nightmare,” said UK Healthcare athletic trainer Allie Schanck.

Schanck works closely with several Kentucky teams and schools. They are required by the KHSAA to have emergency action plans for each venue and practice space.

“As I always say, it’s important that I have an AED with me wherever I go and have it with me at every event,” said Schanck. “I hope it just sits right in its case and doesn’t ever have to get taken out or anything like that.”

The KHSAA strongly recommends AEDs at all sporting events, and coaches are required to have AED and CPR certification. However, when it comes to younger sports and independent leagues, Schanck says those protocols aren’t always in place.

“That’s why it’s so important that these parents are asking at their son’s little league baseball team, ‘Who is here if something like that would happen? When time is of the essence, who is the person who’s there that would take care of that,’” said Schanck.

Schanck says anyone can get CPR or AED certified, saying you never know when that knowledge could save a life.

“It’s unfortunate that an event as serious and as critical and traumatic is what brings about it. But that’s kind of the light that comes out of such a traumatic situation,” said Schanck.

Education and preparation that could save a life.

The American Red Cross offers AED and CPR training courses.