March 4th, 1990, I witnessed a tragic event in Los Angeles that I will never forget. As a junior at Loyola Marymount University I was at a basketball game sitting about 75 feet away from Hank Gathers when, after a thunderous dunk, he collapsed at mid-court. The crowd of 5,000 was silent, many of us saying prayers. Some of my good friends, players and staff, were on court. Some were quietly praying and consoling each other, others working diligently to help Hank. They carried him outside where they used an AED and CPR to attempt to revive him. A couple of hours later he was pronounced dead at the hospital in Marina Del Rey. Hank was 23 years old and king of the college basketball world, leading the nation in scoring and rebounding, headed the NCAA tournament and then the NBA. As I write this the memories and emotions of that moment and the days and weeks that followed come rushing back like it was yesterday.
When I look back on that moment one thing that stands out is the response of the medical staff and coaches. They knew what to do. The reason they looked prepared is because they were. Hank had collapsed earlier in the year during a game against University of Santa Barbara. Doctors discovered a heart condition in Hank and prescribed medications. The athletics staff used that first collapse as a lesson and decided to re-examine their emergency preparedness plan, including buying an AED, just in case. While the incident with Hank was the impetus, they realized it was a best practice for the school be better prepared in case of emergencies in athletics or anywhere on campus.
The story of Hank came rushing back to me when I read that the City of Kirkland and the Kirkland Fire Department have launched new program to provide free Automated External Defibrillator’s (AED) to local businesses and other locations in Kirkland.
The AED Grant Program, initiated by the Kirkland City Council, was created to provide AED’s in businesses and other areas in the community so the public can have access to an AED in case of life threatening emergency. If your company is interested in this program you should contact Captain Joel Bodenman via email at email@example.com . You can read more about it in this article in Patch.com.
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