The American Heart Association has released some staggering statistics concerning cardiac arrest risk in children during school sports. According to this organization, cardiac arrest is the biggest killer of high school athletes, with one in every 30,000 to 50,000 students dying annually. The risk also extends to young adults, as one high school or college athlete dies from a heart attack every three days in the United States.
Some experts feel that not enough is being done to curtail these numbers, as the risk to young athletes is often underestimated. One solution that has been suggested is requiring sports participants to undergo a more thorough health screening that would include an electrocardiogram. The American Heart Association has put together a 12-step list for doctors to use as a guideline when screening athletic participants. Among some of the things on this list include questions about an individual's personal and family health history with relation to heart disease or high blood pressure.
Making electronic defibrillators readily available and having staff members on hand who are trained to use them is another proposed suggestion. These devices can be extremely effective at saving lives when deployed correctly. Even so, many schools do not have them due to budget constraints. Others may have defibrillators but lack the knowledgeable personnel to operate them, thereby rendering them basically ineffective.
In recent years, there has been an increased awareness as to the risk of heat injury among young athletes. While this is also important, raising awareness about cardiac arrest in high school athletes is equally important. Proper monitoring and safety screenings can go a long way toward preventing these tragedies, which means that more needs to be done in the way of educating coaches and trainers about the possible risk of heart attack among young players.
Losing a loved one to cardiac arrest can be devastating, and that's even more so when it involves a teenager in the prime of his or her life. If you've experienced such a tragedy due to negligence on the part of the school system, contact us to find out if there is a remedy available under law.