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Novant Health athletic trainers present life-saving devices to schools

LEXINGTON, N.C. — Representatives from the Novant Health Sports Medicine team visited the Davidson County Schools administrative office recently to present new automated external defibrillator (AED) devices it is donating to each of the seven high schools in the school system.

Following the short ceremony attended by the school system’s athletic trainers and school system leaders, the designated Novant Health certified athletic trainer embedded in each school took an AED device back to his or her home school.

Novant Health, through the Novant Health Foundation’s Physician’s Impact Fund, recently purchased 14 AED devices for its partner high schools in its Greater Winston-Salem Market, including the seven Davidson County schools, as well as additional new devices for partner schools in the Charlotte area. 

Novant Health partnered with Davidson County Schools beginning in 2017 to provide advanced sports medicine care to student-athletes at the school system’s high schools. The partnership puts athletic trainers at each of the seven high schools (Central Davidson, East Davidson, Ledford, Oak Grove, North Davidson, South Davidson and West Davidson) and offers various treatments on-site for all sports programs.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The device can restore a normal heart rhythm in victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

“The AED is a vital part of the best-practices recommendations for the immediate care of an athlete who collapses from a sudden cardiac event,” said Bob Casmus, a certified athletic trainer and supervisor of Novant Health’s athletic trainers for the Greater Winston-Salem market. “The availability of the additional AEDs enables schools to meet the Safe Sports School requirement but also the recommendations of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).’”

The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). And using an AED immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can increase the chance of survival by more than 90 percent, according to the American Heart Association. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), as a leader in health care for the physically active, asserts that the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest is a priority and that an AED should be an integral part of an athletic program’s emergency action plan.

“Our goal was to improve access to potentially life-saving AEDs for athletes at events and our partner schools,” said Dr. Eric Warren, medical director for Novant Health’s sports medicine program. “A person’s chances of survival can drop up to 10 percent a minute until defibrillation. AEDs save lives and timely access can make a tremendous difference for student-athletes.”

Posted on Friday, January 25, 2019