‘Smart Heart’ Initiative aims to prevent cardiac arrest during events

Every major American sports league is banding together to team up with top-tier sports medicine societies to combat Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) among high school student-athletes.

The ‘Smart Heart’ Sports Coalition is a collaboration between the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, the NCAA, the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, and the Korey Stringer Institute.

smart heartThe coalition is advocating for every state in the country to adopt evidence-based best practices to prevent fatal outcomes from SCA among high school student-athletes.

A recent story from The Newtown Bee detailed the ‘Smart Heart’ Initiative being adopted in Connecticut. Below is an excerpt from The Newtown Bee story.

The coalition is advocating for the implementation of three best practice policies to prevent death from Sudden Cardiac Arrest:

*Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) for each high school athletic venue that are widely distributed, posted, rehearsed, and updated annually.

*Clearly marked automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at each athletic venue or within 1-3 minutes of each venue where high school practices or competitions are held.

*CPR and AED education for coaches.

Only seven states have implemented all three best practice policies; 12 have none. Connecticut is one of the seven, along with Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Texas.

Newtown High School Athletic Trainer Doug Michlovitz was one of the many who saw Hamlin collapse during this past NFL season. He followed the coverage of his care and recovery with great interest and concern.

“You always prepare for it but hope it never happens,” Michlovitz said of the potential to have had to respond to an athlete that’s collapsed due to sudden cardiac arrest, something he has been spared the need to do on top of the everyday responsibilities of treating high school athletes on game and practice days.

“We are basically first responders in a lot of cases,” Michlovitz said of the role of athletic trainers.

Michlovitz carries a portable AED with him at all times, and there are a handful of AEDs strategically placed at Newtown High’s playing fields as well as inside adjacent to the gymnasium.

“The idea is to have access to one as quickly as possible so you don’t have to run across campus, grab one, and come back,” said Michlovitz who, along with other athletic trainers, is recertified every two years and, as part of the process, receives updated CPR and AED equipment training.

To read the full story from the Newtown Bee, click here.