On May 23, 2012, my seemingly healthy 16-year-old son, Adam, died of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at home while taking a nap. He had no warning; the first symptom was death. The only definitive way to restart a heart is with an automated external defibrillator (AED), a medical device designed to deliver an electric shock to the heart if needed. Sadly, none was available.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest in youth is not a rare occurrence. It is the #1 killer of young athletes in the U.S. But it doesn’t just happen to athletes. It’s also the #2 medical cause of death under 25.

National CPR/AED Awareness Week is June 1-7. It is critical that our community recognizes the importance of having AEDs available everywhere that youth congregate; that we encourage AED/CPR training and that we have a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan in place should someone collapse due to SCA.

When a child has a sudden cardiac arrest there is a critical 3-5 minute window for that child to be saved. Know the chain of survival:

• Early recognition of SCA which may include any of the following: collapsed and unresponsive, gasping, gurgling, seizure like activity

• Call 9-1-1

• Begin CPR immediately

• Retrieve and begin use of an AED immediately

• Early Advanced Care from first responders

As a parent who lost a child, is the founder of The Adam L Thompson Foundation and a member of Parent Heart Watch, the national voice solely dedicated to protecting youth from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), I urge you to learn more at www.parentheartwatch.org.

It is our responsibility as a community to shed light on SCA in youth and save lives. We hope you will take this opportunity to make coverage of SCA in youth a priority in June.

(2) comments


It’s with deepest condolences of your loss, that I applaud you and your commitment to help others.


This is just one of the reasons that the equipment should be available in all schools. That there be more than one person available at all times with the training in the proper usage.

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