High school football fans take time out to learn Hands-Only CPR

More than 100 attendees of Friday night high school football games across the Susquehanna Valley in Central Pennsylvania learned how to save a life using Hands-Only CPR last month, thanks to the help of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and

Molly Emrich of the American Heart Association teaches Hempfield High School football fans

brain health for all. The CPR training and wellness nights were hosted at ELCO High School in Myerstown, Lebanon County on Oct. 15, Hempfield High School in Landisville, Lancaster County on Oct. 22, and East Pennsboro High School in Enola, Cumberland County on Oct. 29.

“Putting the lifesaving skill of Hands-Only CPR into the hands of more people in our community means that someone who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest is more likely to receive the immediate help they need,” said Dr. Thomas Chin, chief of pediatric cardiology at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital. “If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love, like a family member or friend. When it’s performed immediately, CPR could double or triple their chance of survival.”

About 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes. Only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives. Citizens from primarily poor, Hispanic, or African American neighborhoods are more likely to have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and are less likely to receive

Molly Emrich and Theresa McBride of the American Heart Association trained football fans at East Pennsboro High School

bystander CPR. Women are also less likely to receive CPR from a bystander.

In the past 10 years, the American Heart Association has trained nearly 10.1 million people nationwide in Hands-Only CPR via events, training kiosks and video education. In 2019, The American Heart Association advocated for the passage of legislation in Pennsylvania that ensures all high school students receive Hands-Only CPR training before graduation. This will put over 125,000 trained lifesavers into communities across Pennsylvania every year.

The CPR training and wellness nights were part of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital’s Youth Health Movement Platform Sponsorship with the American Heart Association. In addition to the wellness nights, the sponsorship supported a heart-healthy summer art contest and more than 10,500 students in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties that participate in the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge program receive a quarterly newsletter with family heart health tips.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s kids health initiatives, visit heart.org/kids.

Dr. Thomas Dispenza of Penn State Health instructs local students in Hands-Only CPR at ELCO High School football game