- For Coaches
Sudden cardiac arrest or SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA is the number one cause of exercise related death in young athletes and is generally due to a cardiovascular disorder.
*Source: Drezner J, Toresdahl B, Rao A, Huszti E, Harmon K. Outcomes from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in U.S. High Schools: A Two-Year Prospective Study from the National Registry for AED Use in Sports. Br J Sports Med. 2013;47(18):1179-83.
Remember, many SCA cases occur with no outright warning signs. That is why any player who collapses and is unresponsive should be considered in cardiac arrest until proven otherwise. Here’s what to look for on and off the field.
A collapsed and unresponsive athlete - especially without any recent trauma.
Brief, seizure-like movements in the arm and legs – 50 percent of athletes with SCA will display these types of motions.
Also be aware of warning symptoms of a current heart condition (chest pain with exercise, racing heart – when it shouldn’t, passing out with exercise, shortness of breath or fatigue, a family history of heart conditions or SCA before the age of 50).
of AEDs at practice and game fields.
in case of an emergency during football activities; if cell availability is bad in your area, know where to reach stronger service.
are trained in CPR and AED use and can recognize SCA symptoms.
to practice and game facilities.
to meet and direct emergency responders.
to stay with the athlete on the way to the hospital in case a parent or guardian is not present.
to organize and remove the rest of the team from the injury site.
and a point person to contact the parents if one is not present.
to have onsite during games and practices.