At AED.US, we talk about sudden cardiac arrest statistics all the time. It’s hard to imagine these numbers coming to life in our own communities, but stories like that of Nashville high school student Taylor Frost remind us that we can save lives right in our own backyards with proper training.
We typically think of young athletes as some of the healthiest people in the population. Especially at the high school and collegiate level, athletes are constantly running, weightlifting, and are regularly consulted by nutritionists. But even these exemplars of health are not exempt from sudden cardiac arrest. In fact, sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of student athletes, according to SportsHealth scientific journal.
That’s why many hospitals, including our own Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, participate in a program called Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory). This national program provides AED training and education for students, faculty, and coaches in order to make campuses more “heart safe.”
Recently, the Cross Country team at a Nashville high school, Jonathan Edwards Classical Academy, participated in this program at Vanderbilt Children’s. And just two weeks later, they put their training to the test.
Taylor, 16, collapsed at practice. He was unconscious, not breathing, and without a pulse: telltale signs of an SCA. His teammates and coaches promptly called 9-1-1, located the nearest AED, attached the electrodes, and followed all of the voice prompts. Their immediate and thorough response put Taylor among the 11% of people that survive sudden cardiac arrest.
In response to the incident, Taylor’s mother said, “what Taylor experienced was ventricular fibrillation and that is not compatible for sustaining life. The CPR compressions would not have jolted his rhythm back. It was the AED that did that.”
Taylor was a perfectly healthy teenager, and none of his test results pointed to anything that should have caused this incident. Stories like Taylor’s remind us that we must be constantly prepared, always expecting the unexpected.
If you’d like to learn more about Project Adam, please follow this link. To help you put your emergency plan in place, AED.US has resources and a vast selection of AEDs, so you can find what works best for you and the ones you care about. Together, we can increase that 11% survival rate.
Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director
Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C
Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.
“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”