Students from the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine took time from their studies this week to teach and train young athletes at Glen Cove High School about sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), including how to act quickly and effectively to save a life.
The outreach initiative is part of the “Anyone Can Save a Life at School” campaign by the SCA Foundation, a national organization that works to raise awareness and provide life-saving programs. Glen Cove High School is among 10 secondary schools on Long Island to participate this year.
“The School of Medicine is proud to partner with the Foundation to bring SCA awareness to our youth and communities at large,” said Dr. Kent Stephenson, MD, MPH, assistant professor of cardiology at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and associate director of cardiac electrophysiology at North Shore-LIJ’s Huntington Hospital. “Young people represent stimulus and the driving force behind these life-saving practices—what they learn here can be brought back into the community to inform and teach others—they will help us to sustain our mission.”
SCA is a condition that impacts a quarter of a million Americans of all ages each year, including student athletes. That’s why public health experts recommend having a health emergency rescue plan in place for high traffic venues such as shopping malls, stadiums, and schools.
“SCA is different from a heart attack in that the heart stops beating efficiently enough to bring blood flow to the rest of the body,” explained Lesley Pepin, a first-year medical student who conducted the SCA training session at Glen Cove along with her classmate, Josh Natbony. “That’s why immediate intervention in those first few minutes before help arrives can mean the difference between life and death,” said Pepin.
During the hour-long session, School of Medicine students discussed the causes, signs and symptoms of SCA followed by CPR training using mannequins and lessons on how to use the AED—automated external defibrillator—a portable electronic life-saving device that can restore a regular heart rhythm during SCA. The AED is an easy-to-operate tool for someone with no medical background.
“I think it’s important for all of us to know CPR, how to use the AED, and how to react in an emergency,” said Michael Burrell, a senior football and track team member at Glen Cove High. “I hope that we will never have to use what we’ve learned here today, but if it happens, we’ll be ready.”
Cover photo: Medical student Josh Natbony teaches CPR techniques to athletes at Glen Cove High School.