Preventing Student Athlete Deaths; Schools Honored For Being Heart Safe

Posted at 4:37 AM, May 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-20 22:32:26-04

student loansGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 20, 2014) — A few dozen schools from around the state are being honored for being prepared in medical emergencies.

This comes after the deaths of several high school athletes who have died in recent years. There’s a program aimed at preventing more deaths.

The program is called MI HEARTsafe and was developed to help schools prevent sudden cardiac death of the young. Schools that have a heart emergency plan in pace, know CPR and have defibrillators will be recognized. Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids is one school awarded. Among many fields, they specialize in health, science and technology.

“We learn CPR, addressing any other health conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, any problems that happen in everyday life,” said senior, Diego Garcia.

“We want students to be prepared and that’s why we certify all our freshman in CPR and we’ve had all our staff trained in AED use,” said Mark Frost, principal.

Most recently, 17-year-old Ryan Fischer of Grandville passed away from a heart condition. His death came after Fennville basketball star, Wes Leonard collapsed from a different heart condition.

But both are classified as sudden cardiac death of the young.

According to the Michigan Genetics Resource Center, more than 300 children and young adults die every year from sudden cardiac death. Many causes are genetic.

The goal of many officials has turned to public awareness and recognizing the signs and responding quickly.

The MI Heartsafe school award program recognizes a school’s efforts to prevent these deaths by screening student athletes, having a written medical emergency response plan, and a team of personnel that has proper AED and CPR certification.

Forty schools in Michigan are being honored in Grand Rapids for meeting those standards.

They’ll receive a letter of commendation and be featured on a special website.

By July 1st, all schools in the state are required to have a cardiac emergency response plan in place.