Life Saving Device at Nelson County High

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

January 6, 2006

At least 250,000 people die each year from cardiac arrest before they ever make it to the hospital. High school students are pushed to the limit during physical education, which puts them at risk. A local high school is doing its part to make sure that never happens here.

High school athletics are an important part of the curriculum but it could quickly turn deadly at a moments notice. Nelson County High School isn't taking a chance. They now have a new piece of equipment that could save a student's life.

"Prevention is the key," said John Coots, the school's athletic trainer.

The Automatic External Defibrillator is something the school's athletics trainer, John Coots feels is necessary to treat someone quickly. If a student's heart stops, the device sends shock waives through the heart to get it pumping again.

Being in such a rural county, if something like that happened on the hardwood it would take at least 10 minutes for help to arrive, and in this situation timing is everything.

"The quicker you can get that blood and oxygen pumping whether it's through artificial respiration or artificial chest compressions, the better chance your going to have success in reviving that person, saving a life," said Coots.

Coots hopes to get more of these life saving devices for other athletic programs in Nelson County, but they aren't cheap. Each one costs over $1,500. Through program related funds ,the schools principal, and athletic director split the cost for their defibrillator with an athletic sponsor, the Green and Gold Club.

"If we saved one life than it would be worth the expense," said Tom Saunders, the President of the Green and Gold Club.

In other words, priceless.

11 states have laws to put the defibrillator in schools, but there have been no mandates from Virginia requiring schools to carry that device.

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