ATHENS — Seven southeast Ohio school districts, including two in Meigs County, will receive devices designed to keep student athletes safe.
The devices are a donation from OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.
Seven automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, have been purchased and OhioHealth associates have begun distributing them to superintendents for use in school athletic departments. Districts receiving AEDs include: Trimble, Eastern, Federal Hocking, Athens, Alexander, Meigs, and Nelsonville-York. In addition to the equipment donation, OhioHealth will provide annual maintenance for the devices.
“The donation of these lifesaving devices provides protection for our community members, both student athletes and those attending school sporting events,” said Mark Seckinger, president of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. “We’re so pleased that we can lend our support to local schools in this way.”
“With the generous donation of an additional AED to the Eastern Local Athletic Department, we are now better equipped to cover additional game and practice facilities within our district with such valuable life-saving devices,” said Steve Ohlinger, superintendent, Eastern Local School District.
According to Vipin Koshal, DO, a heart and vascular physician at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, sudden cardiac death takes the lives of 40-50 high school athletes every year. Having quick access to an AED can help save lives.
“From a cardiac standpoint, the highest rate of death in the adolescent age group occurs because of sudden cardiac death,” said Koshal. “These children often have unrecognized genetic illnesses and are most prone to a sudden event during sports. If a sudden cardiac arrest were to occur a defibrillator must be on hand to deliver a shock within three minutes.”
The units were purchased through Athens Has Heart, a charitable fund formed last year by Koshal through the OhioHealth Foundation.
“My goal in practicing medicine in my hometown, Athens, is to make my community a safer, healthier place,” said Koshal. “We established the Athens Has Heart fund to raise money for that exact reason. Children and adolescents are our future — we must focus our attention on promoting and ensuring their health and wellness.”
Proceeds from the hospital’s annual Tricycle Race fundraiser are the main source of revenue for the Athens Has Heart Fund. Plans for the 2017 Tricycle Race are currently underway. The race will be held October 14 at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.