Did you know that the chances of a school aged person dying from Sudden Cardiac Death ranges from .6 - 6.2 in every 100,000 people?
What about the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death in that same population?
Each day in our nation there are over 3,470 suicide attempts by young people in grades 9-12.
As an Athletic Trainer, I have practiced using an AED more times than I can fathom.
We have entire protocols written on how to handle sudden cardiac emergency's.
Has it ever happened to me? No.
Has an athlete ever came to me to express their suicide ideation? Yes. More than once.
I was unprepared, scared and had no protocol to fall back on. So why is it that we as Athletic Trainers and coaches (and parents) focus so much on the risk that is much less likely to kill our athletes?
What are we portraying to our student-athletes? Their physical health is more important, and more appropriate to talk about than their mental health.
This mindset only increases the stigma surrounding mental illness. We need to start talking about it in our preseason meetings. We need to educate parents on signs of mental illness as much as we talk about physical injuries. We need change.
Have you ever had to use an AED?
Do you think athletic trainers, coaches and parents should have more training on how to identify student-athletes who may need help, and what steps to take to get them help?