The Green Bay Packers and Bellin Health have awarded 80 groups throughout Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula with donated Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and accompanying training.
The team had pledged this winter to fund $100,000 toward providing AEDs to eligible facilities in need, along with training from Bellin Health, in the wake of the cardiac emergency experienced by Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin.
The groups selected include schools and school districts, as well as youth and recreational sports organizations, in the following counties: Barron, Brown, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Dane, Delta (MI), Dodge, Door, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green, Iron, Jackson, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Marinette, Marquette (MI), Milwaukee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Walworth, Waukesha, Wood.
The units will be distributed starting the first week of June during National CPR and AED Awareness Week, with additional dates scheduled in June and July. Bellin Health is coordinating with each recipient group to conduct mandatory three-hour training sessions at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in conjunction with the AED unit pickup to ensure each recipient has representatives within their organization who are properly trained in CPR and AED use. Annual equipment checks will also be performed by Bellin team members to ensure all equipment is functioning properly.
While the Packers and Bellin Health recognize this effort won't be able to provide units to every location that needs one, the attention around this topic serves a valuable purpose in encouraging facilities to recognize the benefits of having an AED on-site. This recent effort is not the only opportunity for organizations in need to obtain AEDs; a variety of grants and fundraising methods are available throughout the country, including in Wisconsin. For organizations seeking help obtaining an AED, a list of resources can be found here.
The Packers and Bellin Health are also working together to expand access to CPR and AED trainings throughout the region, with plans to offer a large-scale public training opportunity at Lambeau Field in the coming months, as well as additional training opportunities throughout the region. Additionally, the two organizations are collaborating to spread awareness for Hands-Only CPR, a form of CPR that is appropriate for members of the public who do not have any advanced medical training or experience. Hands-Only CPR can help save lives by providing initial life-saving efforts until first responders arrive, and training can be completed in less than 10 minutes. To see a demonstration video of Hands-Only CPR, please click here.
Bellin Health currently offers AED and CPR training opportunities throughout the year. If residents of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula are interested in attending a course or sharing this education with their community or organization, please click here to learn more. Additionally, the American Red Cross provides training opportunities across the country.
Approximately 350,000 cardiac arrest events happen outside of hospitals each year, and unfortunately, around half of those people don't get the help they need until an ambulance arrives. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, more than 10,000 people statewide are hospitalized after a heart attack each year, including nearly 400 people annually in Brown County. Additionally, data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System estimates that as many as 23,000 youth nationwide are stricken annually by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), and the American Heart Association reports that sports related SCA accounts for nearly 40 percent of SCAs among children 18 and younger.
Furthermore, the NFL, along with other major pro sports leagues, public health and patient advocacy organizations, in March launched The Smart Heart Sports Coalition to encourage all 50 states to adopt policies that will prevent fatal outcomes from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) among high school students.