Sudden cardiac death of the young (SCDY), or sudden unexplained death, occurs when a young, apparently healthy person dies suddenly from a cardiac arrest or an unknown cause. (SCDY does not include deaths related to drugs, trauma, suicide, homicide, or long illness.) SCDY claims the lives of more than 300 Michigan children and young adults between the ages of 1-39 years annually. Many of the causes of SCDY are inherited conditions. In 2007, when Michigan adults were asked about their family history of SCDY, about 1 in 15 (6.3%) responded that at least one biological family member had a sudden cardiac death, or sudden unexplained death, between the ages of 1 and 39. This number was even higher for Michigan adults who were black; 1 in 9 (11.2%) reported a family history of SCDY. For those who have suffered the loss of a family member due to a sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest, prevention of SCDY is of utmost importance. Evaluating your "heart health", including personal and family history that may point to an inherited cause of SCDY is currently the best way to identify those at risk and prevent sudden cardiac death. Many steps for preventing SCDY have been identified, beginning with increasing public awareness of SCDY risk factors. Another step is to increase community knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY) works to prevent death due to sudden cardiac arrest by encouraging communities to be prepared to provide the best possible response to a cardiac emergency. The MI HEARTSafe School Award Program was created to support school communities' efforts to prevent SCDY by screening athletes for inherited sudden cardiac arrest syndromes and increasing the awareness of how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest and respond quickly.
Between 2003 and 2012 in Michigan, there were 2,590 young individuals between 1 and 39 years of age who died of sudden cardiac death. Of those, 214 were between 6 and 19 years of age. In its third year, the MI HEARTSafe Schools designation is Michigan’s commitment to reducing the number of sudden cardiac death in our youth. In the first two years of the program, 162 schools were previously designated as MI HEARTSafe Schools in Michigan.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and Education (MDE); Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY); Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA); and the American Heart Association (AHA) awarded 105 schools in Michigan with the new MI HEARTSafe School designation which recognizes schools that are prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies.
Jonesville Community Schools has worked hard to make sure that our schools are prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies as well as any other type of medical emergency. We have “Comet Response” teams in each building who have been trained in CPR and first aid and respond as needed for emergencies. We have an AED in every building as well as one that travels with the athletic trainer. We have practice drills throughout the school year to practice our skills and work through any potential roadblocks to providing the quickest response for our staff and students in need.
Jonesville Community Schools (Jonesville High School, Jonesville Middle School and Williams Elementary) received their honor as a MI HEARTSafe School at the School Board meeting on October 24, 2016. Gwen Fosse, a member of the Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY), and the coordinator of Project ADAM-Michigan was on hand to present the award to our District Health Coordinator/School Nurse, Tina Varney, RN as well as the building principals – Dustin Scharer, Bryan Playford, Josh McDowell, and Ryan Grimm. It is reassuring to know that our children are in the hands of staff that care so much and are ready to respond during life-threatening situations.
If you would like more information or to sign up for a CPR class please contact Tina Varney, RN at 517/826-7114.