Damar Hamlin pushes for more AEDs in schools, Tuscaloosa schools share how equipped they are

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - On Wednesday, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin was at the White House to push for the Access to AEDs Act.

Hamlin suffered from cardiac arrest back in January and has been advocating for student athletes of all ages.

Tuscaloosa schools shared what they do to make sure they are well-equipped for a similar situation.

The Health Service Coordinator at Tuscaloosa City Schools said they have 72 AEDs spread throughout their 22 school campuses.

“They are just placed strategically in our buildings, as well as near athletic areas, baseball fields, softball fields, football field. Our coaches are trained how to, you know, administer CPR, how to place the AED, and we actually have school emergency response teams as well in our schools,” said Kristi Parker.

Parker said Damar Hamlin’s incident back in January brought awareness to an important need.

“As I was growing up playing football, I don’t recall ever thinking about CPR or knowing where AEDs was in my school or on the athletic field,” Hamlin said.

The Access to AEDs Act specifically helps elementary and secondary schools, which Parker says often don’t have adequate equipment.

“I know not every school system has the funds or is able to purchase as many that is needed. When you need an AED, you need to have that readily available. Larger buildings need more than one, some campuses can be quite large,” Parker said.

Coaches, some employees, nurses and emergency response teams are trained to use AEDs, but she says the more training, the better.

“You never know, just like that, that was a football game. No one thought that that would happen there,” Parker said about Hamlin’s incident. She hopes this will continue to save lives.

“In the event you need that machine, [you need it] available no matter the monetary cost,” Parker said.

Parker reminds us that AEDs are easy to use, but one other skill she says to help would be to learn CPR in case of any emergency.

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