PARKERSBURG - The Camden Clark Medical Center has donated a piece of lifesaving equipment to a local sports league to have onhand during practices and games in the event an emergency occurs.
Mike King, president and CEO of Camden Clark Medical Center, presented an automated external defibrillator (AED) Monday to Tim Mullen, president of The Marietta Recreational Soccer League.
The death of a young athlete is still fresh on a lot of people's minds locally. Marissa Elise Miller, 12, of Vienna died unexpectedly on Sept. 5 while at soccer practice.
Tim Mullen, president of The Marietta Recreational Soccer League, accepts the donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) Monday from Mike King, right, president and CEO of the Camden Clark Medical Center. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)
It was Miller's death that got officials realizing the need for such a device at games and practices, Mullen said.
''It got us thinking that we don't have anything down there that could save someone,'' he said.
Sudden cardiac death results in around 100 deaths in the United States each year, according to the American Heart Association.
Sudden cardiac death is the result of an unexpected failure of proper heart function, usually during or immediately after exercise without trauma.
Since the heart stops pumping adequately, the athlete quickly collapses, loses consciousness and ultimately dies unless normal heart rhythm is restored using an automated external defibrillator (AED), the AHA reported.
The chance of sudden death occurring to any individual high school athlete is about one in 200,000 a year.
Sudden cardiac death is more common in males than in females; in football and basketball than in other sports and in African-Americans than in any other race and ethnic group.
The only effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation is immediate use of an AED, the AHA reported. An AED can restore the heart back into a normal rhythm.
An AED is also life-saving for ventricular fibrillation caused by a blow to the chest over the heart, they said.
Camden Clark has received grants and has been able to supply such devices to organizations and groups in the area that such a device could be helpful in an emergency, including Blennerhassett Island.
''These kind of devices are very self-explanatory and they have saved a lot of people,'' King said
The medical center started a screening program for student athletes where irregular heartbeats and arrhythmia were detected early and dealt with.
''You want to catch these athletes before they have a problem, but if they do they may need a device like this,'' King said.
The AHA recommends having an AED available at every sports event; have personnel available who are trained in AED use at practices and games; and have coaches and athletic trainers trained in basic life support techniques.
Warning signs of problems with athletes can include fainting or a seizure during physical activity; dizziness or lightheadedness, especially during exertion; chest pains at rest or during exertion; palpitations; and fatigue or the athlete tiring more quickly than their peers.
The Marietta Recreational Soccer League serves around 500 kids, ages 4-14, each season and runs two seasons a year.
Mullen said they are appreciative for the donation.
''We are very thankful for the donation,'' Mullen said. ''I hope we never have to use it, but we are glad to have it.
''It gives us a peace of mind that we have access to it if we need it.''