Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) as a Crucial Life Skill for the Parents of Athletes

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is not a rare occurrence in the United States. Statistics have shown that over 300,000 cases of SCA occur each year. Unlike heart attacks however, SCA leaves little room for prevention. The telltale symptoms of heart problems such as chest discomfort, dizziness or irregular body pains are not present in cases of SCA. As such, it is highly unlikely that the victim can be rushed to a medical facility in order to prevent the SCA from occurring.
​Much like heart attacks, SCA may occur even amongst the healthy. It is especially common among young athletes as there is approximately 1 reported case of SCA among young people every 3 days. The damage caused by SCA is insurmountable. Within a few minutes, a victim can suffer brain damage. After 15 minutes, brain death can ensue. It is therefore imperative that the victim be immediately resuscitated.
​Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the most readily accessible form of assistance that victims of SCA have access to. Outside of any medical facility where defibrillators are readily available, there is little help available for a victim apart from a person qualified and trained to administer CPR. In a school setting, not all varsity teams may have a medic who is qualified to administer CPR. Usually, the team only has a first aid kit on hand to treat and clean cuts and bruises. In smaller leagues for certain sports, teams also have to rely on their medics as opposed to having one hired by the league.
​This set of circumstances makes CPR an essential skill for parents who have children and teenagers actively participating in their respective school’s sports teams. In theory, CPR appears simple. It is an attempt to artificially restart the heart and the lungs through abrupt chest compressions and artificial breathing. The simplicity of conducting CPR is deceiving. Not anyone can do it. Improperly administered CPR may result in rib injuries or even the death of the victim.
​Proper CPR certification and training is essential before parents can properly administer CPR to their children or their team mates. CPR training comes in two forms, classes or skills sessions. The former focuses on the theory of CPR whilst the latter focuses on application. Both are essential for proper administration of CPR.
Authored By Thomas Anguella