Robeson County schools mandate CPR certification for all coaches after NFL cardiac arrest

GoRescue says CPR and AED training can save lives.
GoRescue says CPR and AED training can save lives.(WBRC)
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 2:32 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 5:32 AM EST
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ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WMBF) - Public Schools of Robeson County announced a new safety protocol mandating CPR certification for all coaches.

“It’s a wake-up call,” said PSRC Superintendent Dr. Freddie Williamson, referring to the cardiac arrest suffered by Hamlin after the Bills player tackled a Bengals player in a recent football game.

PSRC said mandating all coaches to be certified in CPR will ensure they will be properly equipped to respond in emergency situations.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) does not mandate all middle school coaches be certified in CPR. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association does mandate high school coaches must be CPR certified.

All high school volunteer coaches are certified in “Sudden Cardiac Arrest,” said PSRC Athletic Director Jerome Hunt.

“Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in youth athletes,” said Myranda Hammonds, an athletic trainer at Purnell Swett High School. “That event that happened in the NFL, it can happen to anybody,”

She also said that in emergency situations time is critical and EMS response time may be longer than expected.

In recent years a football player’s spleen ruptured during a game, Hunt said. Two years later, a football player went into cardiac arrest after a hit.

“I witnessed the cardiac arrest firsthand,” said Hunt who was serving in his current role as the district’s athletic director at the time. “That’s one of the scariest things that I have ever been a part of.”

Currently, PSRC has individuals designated as “first responders” stationed at every athletic event.

All PSRC middle school athletic directors are certified in First Aid Safety and CPR. Most first responders are coaches certified in CPR.

There also are automated external defibrillators at each school which are available at all sporting events.

NCDPI defines first responders as individuals who have “CPR, First Aid, training in concussion management, continuing education in injury prevention and 10 hours of staff development each school year. It is not a requirement to have first responders at middle school games, but middle schools are encouraged to work toward having first responders at sports events, according to NCDPI.