At Anna High School on Wednesday, July 18, a group of Anna ISD coaches gathered to train for something they hope they’ll never be called upon to perform. But if they are, they’ll be forever glad they were prepared to do so.
It’s called Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, and it’s just a portion of the emergency training Texas public school coaches are required by law to refresh themselves in every two years. Other elements of required recurrent training include proper use of an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED; correct responses to choking; emergency First Aid techniques; and online concussion training, completed separately.
Anna ISD coaches who were up for renewal this year chose from one of three Wednesdays in July to complete the 4 ½-hour course. Coaches participating on this day were Matt Ellis, Jacqueline Rosson, Justin Baldia, Josh Hill, Matt Moyer, Alyssa Resmini and Dana Ehret.
Leading training again this year was the school district’s Certified Athletic Trainer, Terry Miller, who has taught these classes for over 25 years. “Most of them know how to do [CPR],” Miller said during a break, “but this will be a good refresher course for them, “plus the use of the AED. … The coaches will also be accustomed to the equipment we use here at Anna High School, so in case something comes up they’ll know the contents of the medical kit and what’s provided here that they can use.”
Said Anna athletic director/head football coach Jason Heath, “It basically keeps coaches up to date with any changes that may have come about. With advances in medicine, they’re constantly tweaking and changing things. Hopefully, they never have to perform CPR on a student-athlete or a fan or a parent, but in the event that it happens we want them to be prepared for it.”
Miller opened the day’s program in the training room, going over “immediate care” for
injured or broken limbs. Proper application of ice packs to prevent swelling as well as field-splinting of broken bones was demonstrated by Miller then practiced by each coach. All told, “immediate care” includes ice, suppression, elevation and support.
Back in a classroom, CPR/AED training began with an American Heart Association video that described proper procedures for dealing with a person who shows signs of cardiac arrest or heart attack. Throughout the afternoon, demonstrations by Miller were interspersed, along with hands-on practice by the coaches on rubberized mannequins.
CPR is an emergency procedure designed to save a person whose heart has stopped beating.
It involves providing hard and fast chest compressions on a supine victim with both hands, with occasional mouth-to-mouth breaths. Recommended compressions for every two breaths given have now increased from 15 to 30.
More CPR/AED factoids as presented by the American Heart Association:
-It’s better to provide CPR to someone who doesn’t need it than to not provide it to someone who does.
-Performing CPR can double or triple one’s chance of survival.
-The chance of reviving a victim goes down 7 percent for every minute that passes without starting CPR/AED procedures.
-Adults need AED treatment quicker than a child or an infant.
-Cardiac arrest and a heart attack are not the same things. The former is when the heart’s rhythm becomes severely irregular and no blood is pumped. The latter involves a blockage in part(s) of the heart muscle. It can lead to cardiac arrest.
-Heart attack signs include pain or discomfort in the chest, one or both arms, neck, jaw or between the shoulder blades. The person may also be short of breath, sweaty or nauseated.
-Cardiac arrest presents as a sudden loss of responsiveness with no normal breathing.
-After determining someone is non-responsive and not breathing, or just gasping, call 911 and immediately begin chest compressions.
For complete CPR/AED information, visit heart.org.
AEDs are used to shock a heart back to normal rhythm. Anna High School has five of them on-site and one at the adjacent sports complex, Miller said. Three reside at the middle school, with one at the football stadium and one or two at each elementary school.
Miller has assisted in reviving an athlete on the field of competition. “When I was in college,” he said, “we had a kid at a track meet go down after running the 400. He went into cardiac arrest after winning the race. It was a cold day and he started hyperventilating. He hyperventilated so much, he went into cardiac arrest. I took the compressions while another trainer took the breathing and we brought him back.”
Miller has also saved a close family member’s life, not once but twice, using the Abdominal Thrust maneuver to dislodge food from their airway.
Another prime example of what can happen occurred last August at the North Central Texas College volleyball tournament in Gainesville, with Anna and Melissa teams present. The host coaches’ mother collapsed to the floor as the Lady Cardinals were playing Whitesboro and the Lady Coyotes were in the stands. Coach Rosson was there with Anna’s squad. “She went down and people started panicking a little bit,” Rosson recalled. “I wasn’t down there on the floor near her but I saw from afar. … It was really hectic.” The woman eventually received CPR and AED treatment but it was too late.
“It’s reassuring,” Rosson said of being CPR-certified. “If something does happen, I feel like I’m prepared to be able to handle that and help save a life.”
Said Coach Ellis, “I think it makes you feel more confident should you ever be put in that situation. This is probably the sixth or seventh CPR course I’ve taken. … We had a kid when I was at McKinney High School who we had to use an AED on and do CPR. I think it’s invaluable.” That kid made it, by the way.
For information on the online concussion training, visit texashealth.org.