Automated external defibrillators (AED) are standard equipment in hospitals and doctors’ offices. They are becoming standard equipment for sports facilities. They offer athletes a better chance to survive cardiac emergencies.
If any facility hosts tournaments or events with large numbers of athletes and spectators, organizers should
purchase an AED. Endurance events like marathons and triathlons with risks of cardiac events should have them as well. Even youth sports with a risk of commotio cordis – an injury in which an athlete is struck in the chest by an object that disrupts the heart’s electrical rhythm – should try to have them. Baseball, lacrosse and hockey are a few of the sports in which players could suffer commotio cordis.
AEDs are not cheap, often costing between $1000 and $2500. That cost might seem prohibitive for individual teams and leagues. They can hold fundraisers to come up with money to try to buy one. They could partner with a sports medicine program or hospital to provide them for games or tournaments. If police will be present at an event, the police cars might even have them.
Once you obtain an AED, coaches should be trained to use it. With so little time available to institute the treatment, the coaches not only need to know exactly where the AED is but also how to use it properly. Certified athletic trainers should be trained in their use, but youth sports often do not have athletic trainer coverage for games, let alone practices. Coaches and even parents need to know how to use these devices.