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The Hospital of Central Connecticut Tackles Safety on the Field

November 07, 2023

The Hospital of Central Connecticut, in partnership with Hunter’s Ambulance, donated a life-saving Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine to a Berlin Youth Football team.

Team coaches say they hope never to need this invaluable equipment, which will travel with the team, but stressed that it will be a critical resource to ensure the safety of young athletes, coaches and spectators because, when it comes to cardiac arrest, time is of the essence.

“We know that every minute that goes by where we don’t have access to a life-saving device like an AED, the chance of a patient’s survival decreases by 10%,” says Charles W. Johndro, MD, medical director, Hartford HealthCare EMS.

AEDs are portable devices that deliver an electric shock to restart a heart after sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that can strike anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Sudden cardiac arrest is often caused by fast or irregular heartbeat due to disrupted heart activity. When a heartbeat is too fast or too irregular, the heart won’t pump effectivity and eventually stops.

“When the heart stops, it stops sending blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. If it isn’t restarted within minutes, brain damage starts to set in and death could quickly follow,” Dr. Johndro says.

Defibrillators received national attention over the past year when one was used to save the life of Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin, who collapsed on the field in Cincinnati following a tackle in January 2023.

The team is happy to have an AED on hand if something similar were to happen at one of their games or practices.

“Hopefully it’s a device we never need to use, but our safety is of the utmost importance for us, being a contact sport,” says John Paul Demko, Berlin youth football coach. “We hope to keep this device in the box forever, but it’s important to have on our field.”