My name is Erin Kelley, guest blogger and parent of two young Cincy SC soccer players.

Dare to be EPIC. That is the motto of Cincy SC, one of Cincinnati’s soccer clubs. While EPIC is an acronym for our club’s core values (Excellence, Player development, Integrity, Community), it has taken on a whole new meaning.

Cincy SC just led a fundraiser that raised over $9,000 and purchased 5 AEDs (automated external defibrillator. An AED is compact, portable, medical device that is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It can analyze a heart’ rhythm and if necessary, deliver an electric shock to help re-establish the heart’s rhythm. Our Cincy SC staff members plan to carry them to practices and carry them to tournaments.

Cincy SC players with new AEDs purchased through a club fundraiser.
Cincy SC players with new AEDs purchased through a club fundraiser.

Studies show sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes, accounting for approximately 75% of all case. But the studied also show, if an on-site AED was used in the resuscitation, 89% of these athletes survived.

Cincy SC also trained it’s coaching staff on the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for a Sudden Cardiac Arrest situation and documented the EAP on it’s website.

Cincy SC coaches practicing CPR chest compressions on test dummies with other timing them.

The death of a child (or a loved one, friend, or community member) can be a brutal awakening to how fragile life is and how little control we really have over it. Unfortunately, the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest is on the rise. But we, at Cincy SC, have done our research, and this is an area where we can gain more control and change the 75% statistic rate.

We spent time talking with ER physicians, paramedics, the local police and fire departments, and AED distributors. Additionally, we have partnered with the Matthew Mangine Jr. Foundation. The Matthew Mangine Jr. Foundation is a local organization started by Kim and Matthew Mangine Sr. after the death of their 16-year-old son, due to sudden cardiac arrest. The foundation’s mission is to promote awareness, education, and medical safety measures of all cardiac related episode to competitive youth and high school sports. We look forward to continued work with them on things such and creating an emergency action plan. After the consulting and research, we decided which AED was best for our club, did an internal fundraiser, and purchased the devices.

While we at Cincy SC continue to work with the Foundation to determine other steps we can take to increase the safety of our club members, we are also looking outside of our club. We are trying to increase community awareness. We are working with our local recreation commission and our local park district with the goal of permanently housing some of our AEDs at outdoor community facilities, thus making them available to the public.

Cincy SC is the first type of organization to take on this type of initiative. We hope you will consider doing the same. Take the initiative. Help save your athletes, coaches, and parents lives. Help give back to the community that supports and houses your soccer club. We dare you to be EPIC…carry an AED!