Perceptions and Fears About Sudden Cardiac Arrest and AEDs: Raising Public Awareness in a Community Sports Program

Monday, October 28, 2013: 2:30 PM
Florida Ballroom A (Hyatt Regency Orlando, formerly the Peabody)
Janet Lioy, M.D., The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA and Andrew Greubel, St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Philadelphia, PA

Youth baseball is the 2nd most common sport played aside from basketball with approximately 8 million children between 6 and 17 years participating yearly.  Little attention is paid to serious, life threatening fatal arrhythmias occurring with Commotio Cordis the second leading cause of death in young athletes.  Cases have risen to over 230 and nearly half occur during competitive sports, such as baseball.  Heart guard protection have not been shown to improve outcome, in fact, over 30% of those suffering from Commotio Cordis were wearing chest protectors.


To assess whether providing education and information about SCA and AED usage to a group of coaches, parents and student athletes would result in improved willingness in bystander participation of AED and CPR initiation during a SCA emergency.


We conducted a randomized, blinded survey of a group of participants in Little League baseball in large metropolitan suburban setting.   60 participants,  (divided into 2 groups of 30 each:  10 youth players; 10 parents; 10 coaches in each group), were given the identical 10 question survey on injury awareness, prevention, Commotio Cordis and the use of AEDs during sudden blunt chest injury resulting in cardiac arrest.  Group 1 was given the survey without education.  Group 2 viewed a set of 3 short instructional videos and an information fact sheet about Commotio Cordis and AEDs.  All participants were blindly selected randomly by an outside party.  All results were analyzed by Group assignment and were blinded to the investigators.


Most of the 60 respondents in both groups did not think of serious injuries during games.   Regardless of education, both groups demonstrated statistically significant overall lack of knowledge of serious sports injuries in youth baseball and rarely wore heart protective gear. Although the majority knew what an AED was, both groups did not know where the AED was located in their school or playing field environment.  Most in Group 1, (no education), were unaware of Commotio Cordis injuries and were not comfortable nor were likely to use an AED in an emergency situation. After receiving simple education most participants in Group 2 were significantly more likely to use an AED without hesitation in an emergency, and also use heart protection during youth baseball.   All results reached statistical significance.



There is a serious need for AED and sudden education of all participants in middle school youth sport, to become knowledgeable about SCA during competitive sports, encourage heart protection and AED awareness and usage.  AEDs should be available to all youth baseball leagues and mandatory education should be provided for all coaches, parents, and players in youth baseball before the playing season begins.