In the awful event that someone collapses due to cardiac arrest, every second counts. That’s the reason Metro Health Hospital is working to get Automated External Defibrillators in area schools.
Metro Health officials presented representatives of 10 schools with AEDs to place in their school buildings in the event of a cardiac incident, during a ceremony at Kentwood Public Schools’ Challenger Elementary School.
The devices work to apply electric therapy if a cardiac arrest happens, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. Having them on hand is critical, said Floyd Wilson, Metro Health executive vice president of external relations and marketing.
“The sooner you can get to the person, the better,” he said.
Money was raised for the devices during the 2013 Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament at Metro Health Hospital, in Wyoming.
“It’s one of the things we can do to preserve life,” Wilson said.
Staff will receive training on how to use the defibrillators and about maintenance of the devices.
Ed Kornoelje, medical director of sports medicine for Metro Health, told students the importance of heart health maintained by exercise and healthy eating.
An Extra Measure of Safety
Former Fennville High School basketball coach Ryan Klingler, who attended the assembly, knows the importance of having a device on hand. He was present when his team member Wes Leonard died at age 16 after collapsing due to cardiac arrest in 2011.
He is a member of the Wes Leonard Heart Team, a non-profit organization that tries to educate people about the need for schools to have AEDs. They have donated 102 defibrillators to schools across Michigan, he told Kentwood students during the presentation.
“I had a player who needed one of these, and we didn’t have one around,” he said.
Schools and districts had to apply to receive the $1,500 defibrillators, and those selected to receive them included Challenger and Kentwood’s Endeavor Elementary, Godwin Heights Public Schools, West Michigan Lutheran High School, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, Wyoming Junior High, West Elementary and Wyoming Community Education, and Byron Center Public Schools’ Brown Elementary.
Godwin Heights Public Schools Athletic Director Chad Conklin said the device will be added to several the district has purchased for school buildings.
“It’s that extra measure of safety, peace of mind for students, parents and the community,” he said.