Sometimes I wonder about all of the gadgets and new-fangled products that marketers want to sell us. I remember the Pet Rock, although my dad never let me buy one, and the Tickle Me Elmo doll, which I patiently waited in line to get one Christmas. Here today, gone tomorrow.
As a youth coach, I’ve coached in sub-zero wind chill temperatures and in 100-plus degree heat in the blazing Texas sun. I was trained to look out for all of the heat-related ailments that can ravage the human body in a very short period of time. I’ve wrapped young players with cold towels to lower their core temperature, physically moved players into shade, and required that they drink small sips of warm water to rehydrate until their parents arrived to pick them up.
Fortunately, in all of this time and in all of these circumstances, I have never had a player collapse on the field.
I’ve never been big on championing particular products or trends. I have, however, recently changed my position about one product. This may be out of self-preservation, but I believe that this device is so worthwhile that it should supplant all of the notions that our frugal-minded parents may have drilled into our heads.
The device is an automated external defibrillator, also known as an AED.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death among youth athletes in our country. Defibrillation within three minutes of SCA increases a young person’s chances of survival to 70 percent. Shock within one minute of collapse raises the survival rate to 90 percent.
Calling 911 is absolutely necessary, but the wait for first responders may take too long. The average call-to-shock time in a typical community is nine minutes.
Through a partnership with Cardiac Science, US Lacrosse members can purchase a top-of-the-line AED device for $1,250.
You may be saying “Wow, that is a lot of money!” I’m here to tell you that it’s not. Please follow along with my logic.
I coach fourth graders, and I have 20 of them on my team. Since an AED device should last for seven years with proper maintenance, if I could collect a mere $60 dollars from each family on my team, we would have an AED at all practices and games until each of those fourth graders has graduated from high school.
An AED for our team could work on players, coaches, parents, spectators, or even a homeless person near the park where we practice. That’s $8.56 a year per family for real peace of mind. For the cost of two cups of coffee, we could be sure that there was an AED within a three-minute reach at all of our events and practices. Imagine if every team made this investment.
For less than the cost of another new pair of cleats, you could sleep at night knowing that you had done what you could to protect not only your child, but also your local lacrosse community.
Don’t sit on your hands, folks. This is not a fad. Unlike the Pet Rock and my Ticket Me Elmo doll, I can guarantee you that an AED will never go out of style.