By Marta Lawrence
Nearly 300 student-athletes were certified in adult cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator use recently at the annual NCAA Career in Sports Forum.
The program was created to provide NCAA student-athletes with a broad scope of career tracks in coaching and administration and offer interactive experiences with successful individuals in intercollegiate athletics.
Divisions II and III require CPR and AED certification for coaches, but student-athletes are not required to be trained in the life-saving practices. This is the first time CPR and AED certification has been offered at the forum – a difficult logistical endeavor that spanned four hours of class-based and practical instruction and included 20 facilitators from the American Red Cross.
“This training is beneficial because we’re all leaders who can go back and inspire others to get it,” said Hillary Bach, an Arizona State senior fresh off a national softball championship.
The CPR training had a personal impact for Christine Chancy, a senior basketball player at Mount Holyoke. While in high school, one of Chancy’s teammates experienced distress on the court, requiring a coach to intervene.
She said the CPR training brought back that memory and has empowered her to help others in the future. “You never know when you can help someone,” she said. “It would be good for all student-athletes.”
Chancy hopes to use her new skills in the future when she plans to become either a coach or an athletics administrator.
Alex Kautza, a senior football student-athlete at Winona State, said CPR and AED training makes him an even more valuable member of the team. “It creates an even safer environment if something happened,” he said. “It’s good for a team if you can have complete confidence in each other.”
Like most of those trained at the event, Kautza had no prior experience in CPR or AED use.
“This is really an investment we’re making in the future of these student-athletes,” said NCAA Vice President of Student-Athlete Affairs Robert Vowels. “AED and CPR training illustrates our effort to provide for the health and well-being of our student-athletes.
“Many times, people see only the athletics side of NCAA student-athletes. These individuals are also leaders in the classroom who one day will be leaders in their communities, too. We want to provide student-athletes with opportunities to grow and develop, and offering a career forum is a great way to complement their collegiate experience.”
The student-athletes at the forum represent Divisions I, II and III men’s and women’s sports, with sport-specific coaching tracks for basketball, cross country, track and field, field hockey, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. Participants are selected by athletics administrators at their respective schools who view them as leaders on their campus.