Local school invests in life-saving tool for student-athletes and fans

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Thousands of student-athletes suit up every week to compete in one of the most popular sports around the country.

Football. It's a dangerous sport, and safety between the lines is the hottest topic among fans, parents and teachers.

"Our student athletes are very important to us. They're not only our athletes but they're a part of our school," says Southeast Lauderdale Principal Russell Keene.

At the beginning of the school year, Keene began searching for ways to improve safety at all athletic events. Keene decided to invest in an automated external defibrillator, better known as an AED.

"This is a lifesaving tool for anybody," says Jason Davis, an athletic trainer for Rush Sports Medical Team.

In the event of a cardiac emergency, you turn on the AED and place the pads on someone's chest. The machine reads your heart rhythm and applies a shock if needed.

Keene says thanks to a charitable donation from The Foundation of Rush, the school is twice as protected with the addition of two devices.

"Our motto has always been that we are our brother's keeper. And if we don't step up and help the community in this way, then it would be a downfall," says Davis.

Not only does this improve the chance to respond to an on-field injury, but it protects the fans as well.

"A lot of times we think of football being the sport where you get the most injuries, but really and honestly, all of the sporting events we have, the most people that get hurt are the fans at football games," says Keene.

So parents, next time your loved one laces their cleats under those Friday night lights, responsive and swift help is there if needed.

"In worst case scenario, yes. An AED provides a great comfort to me personally, because it's another tool we can use," says Davis.

According to AED Today, sudden cardiac arrest can strike persons of any age, gender, race or health. The survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest is only 5%, but with the use of an AED, the survival rate jumps up to 90%.