A Life Saving Lesson
Anyone can save a life, and the volleyball team at Two Harbors (Minnesota) High School knows this as well as anyone.
At practice, one of the volleyball players suddenly collapsed. But there was no panic because the team knew what to do. Just one day earlier, Coach Chaffee had implemented “Anyone Can Save A Life” – an Emergency Action Plan Program developed by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) and the Medtronic Foundation. She talked to her players about what to do in the event of an emergency. She assigned students to each of the three Student Response Teams and explained their responsibilities. “Just the day before, we had written down who was going to do what,” Chaffee said. “Last year our basketball team did a mock run-through, and we were planning to do that the following day, but we never got the chance.” Instead, they got the real thing.
“In the middle of practice she fell down,” Chaffee said. “We realized she was having a seizure and I ran over to her and said, ‘Somebody call 911’ and that’s really all it took. Each of the girls knew what to do. One of the girls went to her phone and called 911, another ran to get the AED (automated external defibrillator), others went to the front door to meet the ambulance, and to get the building principal. Everyone just did their job.”
The player was taken to a local hospital and everything turned out fine. The MSHSL’s “Anyone Can Save A Life” program continues to play a vital role in helping schools prepare for such emergencies.
The MSHSL and the Medtronic Foundation, authors of Anyone Can Save A Life, together with the financial support of the NFHS Foundation, will deliver this one-of-a-kind lifesaving program to every high school in the country prior to the fall of 2015.
One coach cannot respond to the medical needs of a student and direct an effective response at the same time. The key to an effective Emergency Action Plan is to utilize and empower students in every sport and at every level to be a part of the response team. If roles have been assigned and practiced prior to a medical emergency taking place, then a well-defined and coordinated response will be the result, and medical assistance will arrive quickly giving the student the best chance of survival.
An effective Emergency Action Plan is made up of the following three Student Response Teams:
The 911 Team – This team has six members.
• Two students will call 911 from a pre-determined phone and provide the dispatcher with the location and details of the emergency.
• Two students will meet the ambulance at a pre-determined access point and will take them to the victim.
• Two students will call the athletic trainer, if one is available, and the athletic administrator and alert them to the emergency.
The CPR Team – This team is made up of the coach and three students.
• The coach is the lead responder on this team and is responsible for attending to the victim and administering CPR, if necessary, until trained medical personnel arrive.
• One person is capable of providing effective CPR for approximately two minutes before the quality begins to diminish. Having several students trained and ready to administer CPR will save lives.
The AED Team – This team has four members.
• Two students will retrieve the AED and take it to the victim.
• Two students will physically locate the athletic trainer, if one is available, and take him or her to the victim.
Emergencies will happen at after-school practices and events. Creating a Team-Specific Emergency Action Plan is easy and does not take much time. Simply follow the steps outlined in the program and you will provide a well-coordinated response to every medical emergency. With appropriate planning, Anyone Can Save A Life.
Jody Redman is associate director of the Minnesota State High School League.