Importance of Onsite AEDs at Sporting Events

Sporting events and AEDs

At sporting events, the chances of injuries or medical emergencies are heightened.

In Lubbock Texas, A 47-year old photographer Larry Martinez was taking pictures on the sideline of Petersburg High School’s game against district for Ropes when he suddenly fell to the ground. With about a minute left in the game, night trainer Natalie Steadman heard a group by the sideline crying her name.

Steadman, an associate professor and former head athletic trainer at Texas Tech, had extensive CPR training but had never previously performed CPR.

Someone retrieved the AED stored on the opposite end of the field while Steadman cut away Martinez’ shirt and prepared him for the AED. She shocked him with the AED, and then continued CPR, performing 60 chest compressions. Martinez began to breathe more regularly and his eyes opened by the time an ambulance arrived. Martinez was fortunate—his heart stopped about 25 yards away from an AED and someone trained in their use. Five minutes could have made the difference between life and death. At the hospital, Martinez learned that he has an irregular heartbeat and doctors implanted an artificial defibrillator in his chest.

Steadman said she had prepared herself mentally for the possibility of having to perform CPR someday at a football game. She wanted to be certain what to do so she did not freeze up and lose a life. Steadman believes everyone should learn CPR, no matter how old. It is simple enough for a 10-year old and only takes a single day of training to learn.

Just as many people over-think CPR, it is common for people to assume AEDs are more complicated and difficult to use than they are. AEDs search for life-threatening disturbances in the rhythm of the heartbeat. Through controlled electrical shocks, AEDs stop the arrhythmia and let the heart resume a natural rhythm. AED devices walk the rescuer through every step of safely using the device. Pictures and labels make use simple enough for a child, and some models even provide instruction on CPR.

[ Related:’s Take On Cardiac Arrest ]

At sporting events, the chances of injuries or medical emergencies are heightened. Both the forces experienced by the athletes and the excitement of the fans are potentially dangerous. In these situations, it is even more important to have on hand both life-saving equipment like an AED and personnel knowledgeable in AEDs and CPR. It may never be needed, but it may just save a life.