According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die, and if resuscitation efforts happen quickly, it can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. Portable AEDs can cost between $1,500 and $4,000, yet Intermountain Healthcare identified the AEDs as an important tool for the athletic trainers to have working in each of the high schools, and worth the cost and donation. “Our primary concern is student safety,” says Rhett Farrer, Intermountain Sports Medicine Administrator. “You just can’t predict when you will need some of your tools so, you are better off prepared.”
Melissa Mendini, Intermountain athletic trainer at Cedar High School and lead athletic trainer of the Iron County School District, says the AED goes with her everywhere. “Access to an AED could be the difference in the survival of a collapsed victim,” says Mendini. “It’s an easy-to-use medical device that analyzes the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock, called defibrillation, to help the heart reestablish an effective rhythm. The AED helps bridge the wait time between a response to a 9-1-1 call and arrival of an ambulance, and absolutely can save a life.”
According to Farrer, having access to AEDs during sporting events as a safety precaution for the athletes, staff and spectators is essential. “Student athlete safety is a top priority of Intermountain Healthcare,” says Farrer. “And as such, we are always looking for ways to ensure our students are as safe and protected and championed as possible. These AEDs are an important part of that.”
Intermountain Sports Medicine at Cedar City Hospital provides the athletic trainers at each high school: Melissa Mendini at Cedar High, Michelle Hudson at Canyon View High, and Ryan Huber at Parowan High. The three athletic trainers coordinate the coverage of the many high school sporting practices and events, both girls and boys, that occur in the district. Dennis Heaton, Canyon View High School Principal, says “This represents the great relationship between Iron County schools and Intermountain, and directly benefits our students and student athletes. I am very grateful for the wonderful work of our trainers, and these AEDs are just one more safety component that Intermountain has brought to our students and community. We are very grateful for our partnership.”
Along with the trainers, anyone who has received First Responder training are able to utilize the AEDs when needed at the high schools.