On a recent Friday afternoon in Indianapolis, members of the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee took a break from their usual fall meeting business of reviewing legislation to embark on an initiative that could save lives.
The committee members filed into a room where manikins dotted the floor and automated external defibrillators lay nearby. Before addressing the props, they listened to a video created for them by NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, which explained the importance of the training they were about to receive. Five to 10 NCAA student-athletes die every year competing in sports because of cardiac arrest, Hainline told the committee members. But often, he added, death from cardiac arrest can be prevented: There’s a 90 percent chance the individual will survive if he or she is treated properly within three minutes.
Such statistics are what helped to drive a new partnership between the Division II SAAC and the NCAA Sport Science Institute that centers on CPR and AED training. This partnership is grounded in the interassociation Cardiac Care Best Practices , and its goal is to raise awareness for the cardiac health of college athletes and increase the number of NCAA community members who are CPR and AED certified. The student-athlete committee members took the first step during their meeting Nov. 18, when they learned the two lifesaving techniques and earned certification through the American Red Cross. Next, the committee and SSI will spread that knowledge at the NCAA Convention in January by sponsoring three CPR and AED training sessions for attendees.
Hainline described this kind of training as “low-hanging fruit” in cardiac care. “In my opinion, everyone should be certified in CPR and AED,” he told the student-athletes. “I really thank you for taking the lead on this most important matter.”
During the training, the committee members took turns practicing the steps of both emergency procedures, which included performing compressions on manikins and delivering rescue breaths for CPR and correctly setting up and operating an AED. Their certification will last for two years.
“It was incredible,” said committee member Celine Mangan, a recent graduate and former basketball player at Notre Dame College (Ohio). “It took us an hour and a half, and having that in our background is really helpful.”
Many other committee members echoed Mangan’s sentiments. “If we can go out and save someone else’s life, literally,” added Jake Long, a recent graduate and former baseball player at Regis University (Colorado), “why not try to do that?”
Conversation on social justice
On the second day of their meeting, committee members participated in a heartfelt discussion of social justice issues that was led by two facilitators from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Amanda Bonilla, an assistant director for social justice education at IUPUI, and Alice Jones, a learning and program development consultant in the IUPUI Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community, engaged the group in personal conversations and activities that fostered awareness and understanding of group members’ unique experiences. The student-athletes discussed ways they could make a positive impact around social justice on their campuses and in their conferences and will continue the dialogue with other Division II leaders at the upcoming Convention.
Also at the meeting, committee members:
- Reviewed and ultimately supported all 18 legislative proposals that are up for a Division II membership vote in January. The 2017 business session marks the second time the student-athlete group will cast its vote on each piece of proposed legislation.
- Volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana, where they helped transport and set up holiday decorations.