Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of an estimated 400,000 people each year. An indiscriminant killer, sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone and anywhere. 

One rare but potentially catastrophic phenomenon in athletes that results in sudden cardiac arrest is commotio cordis, which occurs when a blunt but often relatively mild blow to the area of the chest directly over the heart occurs during a precise moment of the heart's cycle. 

The most effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest and, indeed, the only effective response to commotio cordis, is the timely delivery of a life-saving shock or defibrillation. Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are portable and easy-to-use devices that deliver potentially life-saving defibrillation therapy quickly and effectively. Without intervention, the mortality rate is 100 percent.

In order to help bring an AED to every lacrosse field in America, US Lacrosse has launched a new initiative, called A Player’s Pulse. The goal is to raise AED funding and awareness to make the sport safer for all.

“We can’t guarantee a player, coach, official, or spectator isn’t going to fall to the ground suddenly due to cardiac arrest, but we have the technology in place to save people’s lives,” said Michael Cather, vice president and chief relationship officer at US Lacrosse. “With the support of visionary donors, we can work to guarantee that there is an AED on site to reach every victim within the critical four-to-six-minute window for survival.”

As part of the initiative, US Lacrosse has created an AED grant program that seeks to provide 100 free units annually to members of the lacrosse community. In addition, US Lacrosse has partnered with AED provider One Beat to offer significantly discounted units for immediate purchase.

"The opportunity to raise additional funds for our AED grant program and expand its size and scope with the addition of CPR training tools is one more example of how our national organization is able to make lacrosse safer at the local level,” said Dr. Bruce Griffin, director of the Center for Sport Science at US Lacrosse.

Baltimore-area paramedic Felice Goldbloom, a lacrosse parent, has already joined the Player’s Pulse campaign as a volunteer advocate in getting an AED on every field.

“As a paramedic, it’s only a matter of time before I am called to transport ‘that kid,’” Goldbloom said. “I don’t want to arrive at a site and have to ask ‘where was the AED?’”

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