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Sports

Quill the Umpire: Let's all be proactive about health emergencies

Chris Walker
Chris Walker

Just like OPS and wRC+ and other statistics have seemingly replaced AVG and OBP in baseball, umpires have been asked by the IHSA to share some acronyms during the pregame meetings as part of a sports medicine emergency best practice involving CPR, AED and EAPs.

WTH. YGTBKM. AYS? I am.

Let me ELI5. The IHSA wants us to be proactive in the event of a health emergency by finding out where the medical staff will be, the location of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and whether the host school has an EAP (emergency action plan) in the event of a catastrophic injury or severe weather.

IMHO, I think this is long overdue. I manage a building with an AED located near the entrance. We haven’t used it, but the odds are favorable that it will someday save a life, and that’s good enough for me since YOLO. The National Safety Council said that greater access to AEDs could save 40,000 lives annually.

That’s a lot of people who would gladly deal with FOMO to be alive to experience FOMO. And you can never have TMB.

The AHA reported that cardiac arrest strikes about 424,000 Americans annually and that those who do not receive bystander CPR and/or AED assistance have a survival rate of about 10 percent. Those receiving such assistance have survival rates that can exceed 50 percent.

But having a coach tell me the location of the nearest AED isn’t enough. DGMW, it’s a good start, but isn’t it crucial to have medical staff on-site who can get it quickly and use it properly? It doesn’t do you any good if your leadoff man gets on base but no one drives him or her home.

There was an AED at St. Charles North when senior Lauren Laman went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in 2008, but it wasn’t used. By the time EMS arrived, it was too late.

Every year at this time, I’m reminded of when one of my sports heroes, former Loyola Marymount basketball star Hank Gathers, died tragically on the basketball court on March 4, 1990. Whether an AED would have saved him, God only knows, but one was available. All we know is that it wasn’t used in the six minutes after he collapsed at midcourt and was then removed from the floor.

The deaths of Gathers and Laman were not in vain. AEDs are seemingly everywhere today, and thousands of lives are now being saved as a result.

The Lauren Laman Law, which passed in 2014, requires all Illinois high schools to add CPR and AED training to their curriculum. Here’s the troubling news, though. I polled some area high school seniors and recent graduates and found only one who has received the training.

As parents, shouldn’t we want our kids to learn CPR and AED? If we ask our kids to receive such training, shouldn’t we acquire that knowledge as well?

Studies have shown that you can become proficient in CPR and AED after just 30 minutes of training. That’s a small amount of time that ultimately could save lives.

I also think more needs to be communicated regarding EAPs. Hopefully, high schools that haven’t written an EAP will do so now. Those that have them need to share them. Post copies of your EAP in each team’s dugout. And if there is someone on-site that announces the lineups, plays walk-up music, etc., have them say before the game,“[Name of school] is committed to the safety of the players, fans, coaches and umpires. In case of an emergency, refer to the EAP, which is posted in each dugout.”

Too many acronyms? Yeah, SCNR, but now that I’m done here it’s time for some S3BO calls.

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