onths ago to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.
In front of about 100 people ranging from high school athletic directors, doctors and athletic trainers, to Sacramento Kings general manager Geoff Petrie, Manshadi spoke about his mission of placing potentially life saving automatic external defibrillators in every high school in the area.
Manshadi said that night, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Most everyone in the audience expressed their outward support, though some privately were skeptical, pointing to costs and practicality issues.
Last week at the Dameron Hospital Annex in Stockton, Manshadi addressed a similar-sized gathering of high school coaches, administrators and medical people, and handed out automatic external defibrillators to representatives from Stagg, Edison, Chavez, Franklin, Lincoln, St. Mary’s, Bear Creek and his alma mater, Elk Grove.
“There’s no reason not to get one,” Manshadi said. “You’re increasing the chance of some young kid who’s normally healthy from not dying.”
The portable devices will be placed in an accessible location at each high school, and personnel will be trained to operate the computerized device, which recognizes a person’s heart rhythm and delivers an electric shock, if needed.
“This is something a high school wouldn’t think of doing on its own because of the cost,” said Chris Goodwin, assistant principal at Edison High. “But it’s great to have.”
The AEDs, which cost about $2,500 each, were donated by Dameron Hospital through St. Jude Medical and Cardiac Science Corporation. Manshadi helped facilitate the donations.
“It was a collaborative effort,” said Dr. Chris Arismendi, chief operating officer of Dameron Hospital.
It’s a start, Manshadi said.
Manshadi’s interest in helping prevent fatalities among youth from sudden cardiac arrest peaked in September 2008 when he learned about a 14-year-old soccer player who suddenly lost normal heart function during a cool-down lap after practice and later died. There have been other incidents across the country, including a 9-year-old boy who recently died from sudden cardiac arrest in Tupelo, Miss.
In Texas, the state requires an AED be placed in every elementary, middle and high school after four children recently died in a two-month period and 15 overall from sudden cardiac arrest since 2006. Eleven more states have similar requirements for their schools. California is not one of them.
Manshadi, a 44-year-old husband and father of two young boys, said about 350,000 people of all ages die annually from sudden cardiac arrest, presumably from a hidden heart defect. Almost 95 percent of those people died within minutes. The occurrence of sudden cardiac death among high school age athletes is rare, about 1 out of 100,000-300,000, according to the University Interscholastic League in Austin, Texas.
But Manshadi believes one death is too many.
“We shouldn’t wait until more and more kids die,” he said.
Several athletes have died from sudden cardiac arrest, including volleyball player Flo Hyman in 1986, NBA player Reggie Lewis in 1993 and Vanderbilt basketball player Davis Nwankwo in 2006.
Victims of sudden cardiac arrest have a 5 percent survival rate if not treated with an AED, Manshadi said. The survival rate jumps to 90 percent if an AED is administered within the first minute. As time passes, the survival rate drops.
Mark Storace Sr. of Sacramento went into sudden cardiac arrest about two years ago while jogging on a treadmill. He said he was saved because an Emergency Medical Technician used an AED on him about six minutes after he was stricken.
“I was lucky to have someone there,” said the 48-year-old Storace, who now heads the Sacramento chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, which provides education, support and CPR and AED training. “But the only thing that saved my life was defibrillation.”
St. Jude Medical has distributed more than 500 AEDs across the country within the last year as part of its HeartSafe program. Most have been placed in high-traffic, public areas, such as government facilities and airports.
“What Dr. Manshadi is doing is unique, focusing on sports,” said John Preisler, a Seattle-based market development director for St. Jude Medical. “We don’t have enough AEDs out there.”
Manshadi said he hopes to distribute AEDs to 90 percent of California’s schools within three years.
Like he said more than a year ago, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Contact sports editor Bob Highfill at (209) 546-8282 or firstname.lastname@example.org.