Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in athletes under the age of 25. The average age of victims is 15. AEDs are portable medical devices used on victims of cardiac arrest that provide an electric shock to help restore a normal heart rhythm.
“One athlete in high school dies every three days of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, the sponsor of Senate Bill 6562. “I introduced this bill because no parent should lose a child from a heart condition they didn’t know they had, and no child should die doing something they love.”
A child will often show no symptoms or warning signs until the heart abruptly ceases to function and breathing stops. The chances of survival decrease 10 percent with every minute that passes without defibrillation from an AED. It is estimated 90 percent of sudden cardiac arrests occur in youth at schools, athletic fields or gymnasiums.
Organizations such as Northwest AED have been successful in organizing and raising AED money for school districts.