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Schools urged to have defibrillator on hand for youth athletes

This week's best of, a website devote to health and safety issues in youth sports:

  • Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes during exercise. Historical survival rates from out-of-hospital SCA using conventional EMS systems are less than 8 percent, but public access defibrillation (PAD) programs have been shown to significantly improve survival rates by shortening the time interval from cardiac arrest to defibrillation through strategic placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs)., so much so that placement of AEDs in schools and at athletic venues is now the "cornerstone" of emergency response planning and the prevention of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. In a first-of-its-kind study published in the British Journal of Medicine, researchers at the University of Washington reported that AEDs in a school setting saved the lives of nearly 9 out of 10 student-athletes and adults suffering SCA during physical activity on school grounds.
  • A new study by researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College suggested that repeated subconcussive blows might cause changes in the brain's white matter and affect cognitive abilities. The study is just the latest since Purdue researchers first reported in 2010 finding subtle changes in the brains of high school football players from repeated blows to the head.'s senior editor Linsday Barton updated her article on the Purdue study and the subsequent research, which, despite media reports to the contrary, has not yet come close to proving a causal link between repetitive subconcussive blows to the head from contact or collision sports and long-lasting or permanent brain damage or increased risk degenerative neurocognitive diseases, such as CTE.
  • Should strength training become a regular part of physical education in elementary and middle school? A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggested just that. Swiss researchers found substituting 45 minutes of supervised school-based strength training for two or three regular PE classes significantly increased upper- and lower-body strength in healthy schoolchildren aged 10 to 14 years, and significantly increased daily spontaneous physical activity outside the training for boys (but not for girls). The study compliments a growing body of evidence linking students' physical activity levels to increased academic achievement.
  • A month has passed since the end of her son's last seventh grade football game, and it's given Texas mom Gretchen Rose time to reflect back on his banner season on the field (a 7-2 season, excelling as both running back at defensive end), how well he performed off the field and the many important life lessons he learned over the course of the season. With the first season of middle school football season behind her, Rose said she is still a major fan of football -- and boys.
  • As the recent HBO documentary, "State of Play: Trophy Kids" illustrated all too well, there are some parents who will do or say just about anything to help their kids succeed in sports. But, as's Brooke de Lench explained, the damage that often results from emotional abuse of youth sports athletes can be long-lasting and can never be justified in the name of winning.

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