GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Although rare, being struck in the chest by a baseball at just the wrong time can trigger cardiac arrest. Albany County wants to make sure that little leagues are prepared if the unthinkable happens.
An initial investment of $9700 from the Albany County Legislature and Sheriff Craig Apple was used to purchase four AEDs for leagues that currently don’t have one on hand.
“For years, we’ve always worried about that ‘what if,'” said Geoff Miller, Coaching Coordinator for Green Island Little League. “What if something happened to somebody? Now, we know that we can do something about it.”
Green Island and Albany County officials were joined by the American Heart Association Wednesday for the announcement, as well as a demonstration of hands-only CPR, and tutorial on use of the AED.
“The more AEDs and CPR-trained individuals we get at the baseball fields, will make our little league fields the safest in the nation,” said Sheriff Craig Apple.
“When an emergency strikes, seconds and minutes count,” said Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce. “We’re sure this can make a difference.”
The effort was spearheaded by Legislator Sean Ward, who grew concerned about the lack of life-saving equipment available at sporting events.
“These are very valuable tools to have on site,” Ward said, “and the quicker you do it, the better.”
Sport-related cardiac injuries have taken the national spotlight. Buffalo Bills defensive back, Damar Hamlin, who has been cleared to return to football, collapsed on the field during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in January.
A local incident back in 2012 brought the issue close to home for many parents, when Joe Mendrick survived a cardiac arrest in Colonie after a blow to the chest by a baseball during a little league game. Mendrick is now 22, and about to receive an MBA from Binghamton University.
CPR and defibrillation were saving graces for these athletes.
Miller is excited about the peace of mind this AED will provide for parents. It’s a gift he takes happily, because the defibrillator is an expense his smaller league just can’t swing.
“When you’re trying to deal with getting baseballs and gloves,” Miller explained, “we supply all those things to all the kids here. If they don’t have a glove or cleats, we give them those things.”
Green Island Little League will have its opening day on Saturday, April 29.