This week at a JV baseball game in Georgia an umpire collapsed with a cardiac arrest. A high school ballplayer who recently had learned CPR started CPR on the field.
A couple of important points on this case. High school students and younger can and should learn CPR. They are capable of saving a life. Currently, 13 states mandate CPR education prior to graduation from high school. A bill is in the Kentucky senate currently mandating CPR education for high school students. Hopefully, the legislators will have the foresight to pass this legislation.
Once a person has learned CPR they are more than 50% likely to act when called upon. This young man stepped up and acted in a very stressful situation and may have saved this victims life. During times of trouble, some run toward the chaos and trouble. Thankfully, this young man did what he was trained.
It is reported in the news that he had a massive heart attack. This is a common misconception. He had a cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops. Sometimes a heart attack can be a cause of a cardiac arrest but not every time. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is suddenly blocked and an area of heart muscle dies. Sometimes the dying heart muscle can cause a cardiac arrest by causing the heart rhythm to stop. A cardiac arrest can occur with a massive heart attack or a small one.
The story reports that it took 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Each minute that passes from when a cardiac arrest victim collapses until the heart is defibrillated increases the chance of dying by 10%. In Kentucky, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is supposed to be available at all high school athletic events. The problem with AED’s is that their location is often unknown and even though an AED may have been available it may not have been able to be located. CPR is really a bridging technique to keep the brain and heart alive until the heart can be restarted with a defibrillator.
Thankfully, this young man and the fans in the stands acted to perform bystander CPR on this cardiac arrest victim. It is unlikely that he would have survived without their quick action. Fortunately, this young man ran toward the chaos and helped to save this cardiac arrest victims life.