Has Your Facility Acquired an AED? Now Is the Time!
Doyice J. Cotten
It is time for fitness centers to enter the 21st century and have an onsite Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Legally, fitness centers no longer have a choice in many states. Not only have these states passed legislation requiring fitness facilities to purchase AEDs and train their staff, but more national professional organizations are taking a stand favoring their use. The day is not far when AEDs will be the required standard of care for fitness centers nationwide.
The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association issued a Joint Position Statement endorsing the availability of AEDs in health and fitness clubs. Other organizations supporting state legislation to require AED use in fitness centers include the YMCA of the USA and the American Council on Exercise.
Standard of care
In a 2006 case in Florida (Mayer vs. L.A. Fitness International LLC), the client suffered a fatal cardiac arrest during a workout. The facility had no AED, did not administer CPR and had no emergency plan. The court awarded more than $600,000 to the family. At least two cases have resulted in huge out-of-court settlements. In Chai vs. Sports & Fitness Clubs of America Inc., the settlement was for $2,250,000, and, in a more recent case (Fruh vs. Wellbridge Club Management Inc.), the defendant agreed to pay the plaintiffs $1,800,000.
States Requiring or Considering Requiring AEDs
The following table provides information on AED legislation for fitness centers. There will likely be more in the pipeline by the time this column is published.
Facility of the Week
Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center