Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have become an essential part of sports medicine and are increasingly found in sports facilities and at athletic events. These devices, which deliver an electric shock to the heart in the event of a cardiac arrest, can mean the difference between life and death for an athlete.
Sports Medicine of the Future: The Role of AEDs
According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes. Early delivery of shock with a defibrillator—CPR plus defibrillation within 3–5 min of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 49–75%. This is why many sports organizations, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), have recommended that AEDs be readily available at all athletic events.
The use of AEDs in sports medicine is not only limited to professional and college sports. High schools and youth sports leagues are also recognizing the importance of having AEDs on hand. In fact, some states have passed laws requiring that AEDs be present in all public and private schools.
The technology behind AEDs has also improved in recent years. Many newer models are more user-friendly and can provide real-time feedback on the effectiveness of CPR, such as the ZOLL AED Plus.
The future of AEDs at Schools
Despite the clear benefits of AEDs in sports medicine, there are still some concerns about their use. Some argue that the cost of purchasing and maintaining AEDs can be a financial burden for smaller sports organizations or schools.
According to President and Founder of AED Brands Keith Hildebrandt, “AEDs are a vital part of sports medicine and are essential for ensuring the safety of athletes. The future of sports medicine will continue to see an increase in the availability and use of AEDs, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they are readily accessible to athletes and sports medicine professionals.”
In conclusion, AEDs are playing a vital role in sports medicine, and their importance is only increasing as technology improves. With their ability to save lives, it’s imperative that AEDs are readily available at all athletic events and facilities. It’s time to prioritize the safety of athletes and make sure that AEDs are a standard in sports medicine.
“Unequivocally, these devices save lives and Hamlin is a perfect example of that,” says Dr. Mary Ann Peberdy, a professor of medicine and emergency medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. According to Dr. Peberdy, those with the best chance of survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have two things in common: they quickly receive CPR and an electric shock from an AED.
She emphasizes that “One of the reasons Hamlin had such good neurologic outcomes and a week later was tweeting with friends was that he had early CPR and early defibrillation.”