How the Michigan High School Athletic Association keeps young athletes safe

“It’s highly important that all the coaches are trained in CPR and AED”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association said safety is their number one concern.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:31 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The American Heart Association reports more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year and nearly 90% of them are fatal.

After NFL star Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest Monday night, Shari Babbitt was left worried about her grandchild’s safety when playing football.

Related: Bills’ Hamlin breathing on his own, joins team via video

“When something like this happens and it’s happened before it makes you think,” said Babbitt.

Geoff Kimmerly, with Michigan High School Athletic Association, said safety is their number one concern and that all head coaches are required to be CPR certified.

“If there is an emergency people know what their roles are, they know what to do,” said Kimmerly.

Kimmerly said schools are not required to have an athletic trainer on the sidelines.

“That’s really why we have CPR training for our coaches to have someone at every game and pretty much every practice that has that life-saving skill,” said Kimmerly.

Sparrow athletic trainer Marci Pionk said when athletic trainers are not available it’s important that someone else has the knowledge to save a life

“That’s why it’s highly important that all the coaches are trained in CPR and AED and can recognize that type of emergency and understand their emergency action plan and how to enact it and how to start CPR on an athlete or maybe it’s another coach that dropped,” said Pionk.

Playing sports always comes with risk, but Babbitt said it is important for kids to stay involved.

“They need to play sports and they need to have that camaraderie and be able to do that but we want to keep them as safe as they can be,” said Babbitt.

Keeping kids safe is everyone’s top priority.

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