The presence of automated external defibrillators has become standard at many athletic venues across the country, and the reasons for that become obvious in the context of events such as the one that unfolded earlier this month on the campus of Loyola Blakefield College Prep in Towson, Md.
According to the Baltimore Sun, during an April 16 varsity lacrosse game, freshman Peter Laake was struck in the chest by a shot. The blow led to a disruption in Laake’s heart rhythm, called commotio cordis, which resulted in immediate cardiac arrest.
Head athletic trainer Jeremy Parr was able to swiftly use a nearby AED, saving Laake’s life. The machine was able to help Laake’s heart reestablish an effective rhythm. The boy was taken to an area hospital, where he underwent a battery of testing and was later released. He has reportedly returned to school, and is doing fine.
Parr hoped that the incident would increase awareness around not only AED access, but also proper training for their use.
“Hopefully through just general awareness and the media, we can make an impact going forward to make a difference for someone else,” Parr told the Sun.
Local high schools are reportedly required to have AEDs on-site.
Dr. Richard Hinton, a member of US Lacrosse’s Sport Science and Safety Committee, told the Sun that the success of the incident at Loyola Blakefield wasn’t an accident.
“I think a key thing is that certainly in sports medicine a way to look at athletic injuries is not as accidents, but as predictable occurrences as part of playing sport and you need to plan accordingly that way,” he said.
“With this case, the biggest part is the concept of emergency action planning for sport, that you need to have a well-defined plan that anticipates the more common injuries and how you will address those if they happen.”