AED: Preparing for the unexpected

By Mr. Maxwell Akey

HINESBURG, Vermont– On March 2nd, 2015 at the semifinal Vermont division one girls basketball game between CVU and Rice, a traumatic event took place. Towards the end of the game Rice head coach. Tim Rice fell down unresponsive towards the end of the game. No one had any idea of what to do for a while, considering Time Rice was unresponsive on the ground, until an athletic trainer was able to get an AED and perform CPR until the ambulance came.

Since the Tim Rice episode occurred, a new addition to Vermont’s second largest high school Champlain Valley Unions sports teams includes the emergency CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) plan. This new regulation was mandated by the Vermont Principals Association (VPA).

Vermont high school sports are well underway. At Champlain Valley Union High School just 4 weeks in, this year’s fall sports teams are CPR trained and ready with an emergency plan in case of another sudden cardiac arrest scenario similar to Tim Rice’s. According to athletic director Dan Shepardson, “I hope we never have to use this plan. It’s not going to stop a broken leg or a torn ACL, but like the Tim Rice incident, it’s to know how to handle a situation like that.”

New to this year, the Vermont Principals Association approved the rule for it to be mandatory that all coaches in vermont to receive CPR training and automated external defibrillators. Champlain Valley’s athletic director Dan Shepardson took matter into his own hands. “I think this new policy is very important. I’m not worried about the enforcement. I’ve trained most of the teams already. It’s a bigger concept than the team. It’s a good life skill to have in case of an emergency anywhere.”

This cost free process was put to action during the beginning of a practice for each sports team at CVU. The athletes on a team were first, cpr trained by the schools trainer Tony Lora and athletic director Dan Shepardson, and then familiarized with the AED. Each team, lead by their coaches, were then asked to set up an emergency plan where groups of students would have separate roles to make sure the team is ready for a frighteningly common emergency.

Nate Shanks, senior football wide receiver had a few words to say early Wednesday morning (9/14) “My Role is to call Shep and make sure he is aware of the situation. I think we all [the football team] understand why this plan is so important to have, it’s something we all understand.”

Groups are set so that someone is ready to perform CPR, get the AED, call 911, and others to make sure everything is quick and efficient.

Quinn Boardman, a freshman on the girls varsity soccer team said “If there were to be an emergency where CPR was needed, we would be very prepared because we have a list of people  who would call 911 and actually perform CPR. We also have people who would direct the ambulance to the field and we know exactly where the AED is if needed.

The purpose of this new plan is to make sure student athletes throughout Vermont know what to do and how to do it if there is ever a rare but not unlikely situation like the one we saw happen at the semifinal game two years ago. Daniel Shepardson concluded his thoughts by saying “Anything we can do to keep the student athletes safe”.

Quinn Boardman left a strong message that speaks to the VPA and athletic directors around the state. “It’s hard to say I have never been in a situation like this but we have all been trained by our schools athletic trainer and feel ready to act.”