The Green Bay Packers and Bellin Health are seeking groups to apply for donated Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), which the team pledged to provide in the wake of the January cardiac emergency experienced by Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin.
The Packers and Bellin announced this winter that the team would fund $100,000 toward providing 80 AEDs to eligible facilities in need throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In conjunction with the distribution of the units, Bellin Health will conduct mandatory three-hour training sessions at Lambeau Field in Green Bay to ensure each AED 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.
The Packers and Bellin will select organizations to receive the donated units and participate in the training program. The focus will be on groups that serve athletic and educational facilities throughout the state. However, other organizations are encouraged to apply. The number of applicants is expected to exceed the number of units available.
Groups in need can apply now at packers.formstack.com/forms/packers_bellin_aed_program, with the application open until Friday, May 5.
The units will be distributed starting the first week of June during National CPR and AED Awareness Week, with additional dates available in June and July. Recipient organizations will be required to identify at least one representative to pick up the AED units and complete the training program provided by Bellin Health.
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.
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. 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.
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.