Indianapolis, IN--Each year some three to five million student athletes suffer sports-related injuries, many of which are serious or critical. Athletes Saving Athletes™ is a unique peer-to-peer educational program that teaches students to recognize and understand the signs and symptoms of sports- related injuries and chronic medical conditions, with the goal of reducing the risk and incidence of injury and death to young athletes.
Originally introduced to student athletes in San Diego, California, Athletes Saving Athletes™ is partnering with Community Health Network to bring the program to Indianapolis. It is the first time the program will be taught outside of California. The first training session will be presented on Saturday, March 8, at Community Health Pavilion Washington, located at 7910 E. Washington Street in Indianapolis. Forty student athletes from Beech Grove, Decatur Central, Franklin Central, Greenwood, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, New Palestine and Warren Central high schools will participate. All of the participating high schools have a formal partnership with Community Sports Medicine. The program is timely, as House Bill 1290, referred to as the Health of Student Athletes bill, continues to move through the Indiana legislature. The bill, in part, requires education on sudden cardiac arrest for all student-athletes, coaches and parents in secondary education and collegiate settings.
“The student athletes who will be trained were nominated by their coaches or teachers and have the leadership qualities necessary to teach their peers,” said DeAnne Green, sports medicine manager for Community Sports Medicine. “We believe investing the time to train student athletes to be vigilant about potential injuries on the field or court will help keep our area students safer.”
Certified athletic trainers present the Athletes Saving Athletes™ (ASA™) curriculum, which was developed by medical experts from across the U.S. The three-hour program covers concussion, head and neck injuries, heat illness, sudden cardiac arrest, diabetes and asthma. It stresses the importance of notifying a coach, certified athletic trainer or other supervising adult immediately, as soon as a teammate is in trouble.
In addition to learning how to recognize and understand signs and symptoms, program participants learn Hands Only CPR and how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
The curriculum includes the compelling video stories of the program’s three Founding ASA™ Ambassadors: Tommy Mallon, a lacrosse player who received a catastrophic head and neck injury; nationally-ranked tennis player Brittan Sutphin, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest while swimming; and Will James, a football player who nearly died due to exertional heat stroke.
“All three young adults are alive today because a certified athletic trainer, an informed teammate or an educated coach was present when they suffered life-threatening, sports-related injuries,” said Advocates for Injured Athletes (the foundation that developed ASA™) co-founder, Beth Mallon. She is Tommy Mallon's mother, the injured lacrosse player whose story is shared as part of the ASA presentation.
“We’re proud that more than 2,300 student athletes in California have participated in ASA™ since the program’s inception in 2012 and two ASA™ graduates have used the knowledge they acquired during the program to save lives,” Mallon continued. “We are excited to partner with Community Health Network and bring our program to student athletes who can make a difference in their communities in Indiana.”
“Program graduates become ASA™ Ambassadors, committed to sharing their newfound knowledge with other students, on the field and off,” Mallon added. “We look forward to the day when at least one full-time athletic trainer is staffed on every high school campus in America and when every student athlete across the nation can participate in the ASA™ program, helping to reduce the risk and incidence of injury and death to teammates through education and access to athletic trainers.”
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Athletes Saving Athletes™ and bring this valuable educational program to our students,” said Nichole Wilson, director of physical therapy and rehab/sports medicine at Community. “We know that this is a powerful and effective program that can help our athletes here in Indianapolis and Central Indiana.”
About Community Health Network
Ranked among the nation’s most integrated healthcare systems, Community Health Network is Central Indiana’s leader in providing convenient access to exceptional healthcare services, where and when patients need them—in hospitals, health pavilions and doctor’s offices, as well as workplaces, schools and homes. As a non-profit health system with over 200 sites of care and affiliates throughout Central Indiana, Community’s full continuum of care integrates hundreds of physicians, specialty and acute care hospitals, surgery centers, home care services, MedChecks, behavioral health and employer health services. To learn more, visit eCommunity.com or call 800-777-7775.
About Athletes Saving AthletesTM
Athletes Saving Athletes™ is the signature program of Advocates for Injured Athletes, a foundation launched in 2010 in response to a life-threatening injury sustained by co-founder, and then high school lacrosse player, Tommy Mallon. Advocates for Injured Athletes’ mission is to promote sports safety and to provide essential support, education and resources to help keep student athletes safe. Advocates for Injured Athletes is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about Athletes Saving Athletes™ and Advocates for Injured Athletes, or to make a donation, please visit injuredathletes.org.