Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Before every training, every tournament, every game we all have a checklist. We tick off everything our players need to go play, have fun and be safe. We make sure they have their uniforms (although they may not be clean), their socks (although they may not match) and their shin guards (although never want to wear them). On cold days we worry they won’t be warm enough and on hot days we worry they won’t be cool enough. We make sure they’ve eaten and they’ve stretched. We give them last minute instructions as they jump out of our cars and we never doubt that they will come back.
But what if they didn’t? What if after all of that preparation and all of that care, what if one day after they played you weren’t able to bring them home? What if your player, your child, your baby suffered from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) while out on the field and no one was prepared? Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the number one cause of death of young athletes.
An AED on every field, every time; that was the challenge we put out to all soccer programs in Ohio last year. This year we introduced the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Pledge, where local clubs, training academies, tournaments and leagues have voluntarily committed to preventing the devastation caused by Sudden Cardiac Arrest in three steps.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Pledge
Commit to reviewing your emergency action plan with your staff and volunteers. Emergency Action Plans should review the placement and usage of AEDs
Commit to reviewing Sudden Cardiac arrest with staff and families (this can be done using the Ohio Health Department’s Lindsays Law materials)
Commit to having an AED available within 3 minutes to every player, coach, trainer, official and spectator for events hosted by the organization (including training, home games and hosted tournaments)
14 leaders in Ohio youth soccer have voluntarily stepped forward to take the lead on committing to safer soccer fields and have already taken our Sudden Cardiac Arrest pledge.
Ohio Premier Soccer Club
Club Ohio Soccer
Central Ohio Elite
Ohio Elite FC
The Ohio State Cup (USClub Soccer)
Ohio Valley Premier League (USClub Soccer)
Great Lakes Alliance, NPL (USClub Soccer)
Northern Ohio Soccer Association (USClub Soccer)
Central Alliance Soccer Association (USClub Soccer)
Cincinnati Soccer Club
Resolute Athletic Complex
Some organizations like Cincy SC chose to research and purchase AEDs for their club (view their blog post here). Others partnered with their local parks and facilities to coordinate the placement and availability of AEDs for their members while others leveraged their relationships with local health systems to provide trainers for their hosted events. The many ways that clubs of all sizes have creatively resolved to keep their players safe shows that having AEDs available to every player is possible.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating and is the number one cause of death for young athletes (Mayo Clinic). Sudden cardiac arrest is fatal. Victims will die unless those around them can identify sudden cardiac arrest and have access to an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) immediately.
If an AED is used within 3 minutes of collapsing from Sudden Cardiac Arrest the chances of survival are 90%, if you wait 5 minutes your survival drops to 74% and beyond that the chances are not good. It's great that we are aware that Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a possibility on our soccer fields but without CPR training and an AED readily available what good is awareness?
The State of Ohio has been ahead of the curve bringing awareness to this issue since establishing Lindsay's Lawin 2017 (that video you were supposed to watch with your athlete before signing the form each year). However, is this enough?