Certified Athletic Trainers Better Equipped in Medical Emergency
It is an Athletic Trainer’s greatest fear and every parent’s
worst nightmare – a cardiac event on the playing field. Sudden cardiac
arrest (SCA) is an abrupt loss of heart function that if not treated within
minutes, can be deadly. When this tragic event happens to student athletes,
it can have a devastating impact on the family, school and community.
It is impossible to know when SCA will occur, but it can be triggered by
overexertion in those with an underlying cardiac condition. Having access
to one device, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), can make all
This lightweight, portable device delivers an electric shock through the
chest to the heart and requires little to no training to use. The shock
can stop an irregular rhythm, and allow a normal heart rhythm to resume.
Administering CPR in conjunction with an AED can greatly increase the chance
Thanks to a partnership with Gaston County Medical Society Alliance and
St. Jude Medical, CaroMont Heart is able to provide AEDs outside of the
hospital setting for public use, like sporting events and school-related
functions, where the chance for SCA is greatest. Mark Heckel, MD, Cardiologist
with CaroMont Heart, presented six devices to CaroMont Athletic Trainers
during their October meeting at CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
“During cardiac arrest, every minute counts,” said Dr. Heckel.
"If you consider the time it takes for a medical responder to arrive
versus an athletic trainer or bystander, it can mean the difference between
life and death."
Trent Hayes, Sports Medicine Coordinator and lead Athletic Trainer at CaroMont
Health, works closely with student athletes at Gaston Christian School
in Gastonia. He serves on the front line to continuously assess the health
of the student athletes, prevent injuries and administer medical care
“As an Athletic Trainer, it is my job to make sure that any health
issues our student athletes experience on the field is addressed quickly
and appropriately,” said Hayes. “It’s a responsibility
that my team and I take seriously. Having an AED accessible at practices
and games is critical for the safety of these students.”
Through an agreement between Gaston County Schools and the CaroMont Health
Athletic Training Services Program, Hayes and his colleagues are stationed
at all high schools in Gaston County. They spent this summer preparing
to ensure the safety of student athletes returning to the field this school
year. This included inspecting existing AEDs, and brushing up on the signs
of SCA and the proper use of the device.
“Having an emergency plan in place that includes an AED is vital
in protecting our student athletes,” Hayes said. “While we
hope we never have to use them, with football season and other fall sports
in full swing, having these devices could potentially save someone’s
CaroMont Heart and the Alliance were recognized in 2013 by the Gaston County
School Board during their Good News report for their donation of 12 AEDs
to the middle schools in the County and Warlick School, an initiative
to enhance the safety and health of Gaston County students.