The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

AED: a life-saving precaution

by Zack Cohen | Sports Writer

An AED unit is located in the halls.

On March 3, after laying in the game winning shot in over time to propel his team to victory and a perfect record on the season, Michigan high school basketball player Wes Leonard was on top of the world as he celebrated with his teammates and fans who rushed the court. Just mere seconds later, Leonard, the team’s best player, collapsed in the midst of the celebration. After several moments of being attended to, Leonard was taken to Holland Hospital where he was pronounced dead later that night. The cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrest because of an enlarged heart.

This is only one of many stories across America and the world involving high school athletes who pass away because of cardiological conditions. It is undisclosed whether or not an AED was used in an attempt to revive Leonard. An AED, short for Automated External Defibrillator, is a machine used to send automated shocks to a person whose heart stops. The procedure for machine use is pretty self-explanatory according to Johnson athletic trainer, Timothy Moore, better known around campus as “Doc”.

“You hook up two leads to the chest. It reads if the person has a heartbeat or not, and if it does, it will not shock. But if it does not, it will give a warning and it’ll shock the person,” he said.

Johnson athlete Lauren Taylor, although not fully diagnosed, suffers from SVT: Supraventricular Tachycardie.

“It’s a heart condition that makes your heart beat faster than usual, even when at rest or when you’re not exercising,” the sophomore pole vaulter said.

Her heart condition has severely limited her performance and she is no longer able to participate in athletics until she undergoes surgery. Taylor remembers one of the last times she was able to run.

“We ran sixteen 100 meter sprints in a single day for track practice. After about 10, I started to hear my heart flutter, and had to stop. My heart was beating more than 200 beats a minute,” she said.

Having such a condition forces Taylor to take certain precautions.

“If I start to feel my heart beat irregularly, I just listen to my body and stop.”

She remains in good spirits and plans to get back into her sport as soon as possible.

“I just love to participate; it makes me happy and it’s my passion in life,” Taylor said.

Although an AED has never been used at Johnson, the school must follow district requirements and have 5-7 defibrillators on campus.

“We have four in the athletic building alone: one outside the training room, one in the foyer in the gym, one travels with golf, and one travels with track and cross country,” Moore said.

Some people might think that only doctors or EMS personnel are allowed to use an AED on an athlete, but there’s actually only one requirement to be able to use one.

“Although a coach is preferable, technically anyone trained in First Aid CPR is able to use this machine,” Moore said.

Johnson has yet to have any major scares, but awareness should still be raised about this matter. People all over the world have heart conditions, but many go undetected. A heart condition can strike anybody at any time, regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability, and coaches and athletes need to be prepared.

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AED: a life-saving precaution