Blogs and Commentary

posted 06.17.11 at 3.55.p.m. by Brian Logue

AED Helps Save New York High School Player

Several heroes played a role Wednesday in saving the life of Jamesville-DeWitt (N.Y.) sophomore lacrosse player Dan Cochran. Cochran was at Fayetteville-Manlius trying out for an all-star team when a shot hit him in the chest. He collapsed to the ground, and his heart stopped beating, apparently suffering a case of commotio cordis.

Commotio cords is a rare, but sometimes fatal incident that happens when a blunt, but often relatively mild, blow (normally from a moving object) occurs to the chest directly over the heart during a precise moment of the heart’s normal rhythm cycle, and induces sudden cardiac arrest in the victim.

Cochran was revived by an automated external defibrillator (AED) and appears headed to a full recovery.

There's a great story in the Syracuse Post-Standard that highlights many of the heroes: Rome Free Academy lacrosse coaches Guy Calandra and Jeremy Roberts, who began performing CPR on Cochran; a mother of a another player, Daniela Reilly, a registered nurse that helped with the CPR; Cyndi Kelder, Fayetteville-Manlius' trainer, who used the AED that restarted Cochran's heart.

Tom Hall, the former Fayetteville-Manlius coach and the organizer of the Upstate Risings event for which Cochran was trying out, also deserves credit. Making the decision, and investment, to have a certified athletic trainer on site reduced the time before Cochran had the AED applied, which greatly improved his chance of survival.

To Brown coach Lars Tiffany, who attended the event, the actions of Roberts were inspiring.

"To me the hero of the day, was the Rome Free Academy coach, Jeremy Roberts," Tiffany said. "He was absolutely in charge. Barking out orders. I've never seen such a situation. I was really impressed.”

In addition to starting the CPR, Roberts had called for the trainer.

"I bet within 90 seconds she was there," Tiffany said. "I saw her face. I looked at her go from normal concern to ‘oh my god’. She was wonderful. I don’t remember [the AED] being put on, it was so quick.

"You could hear this laboring breath – this kid's trying to live, trying to breathe. The AED starts giving out orders, 'shock advise'. That was my first time. To see the body jump, like I’ve only seen in movies, this was real.

"What a sense of relief, the second time when the AED said, 'clear the body, shock not advised.' You're thinking, 'We’re moving in the right direction.' Jeremy was in the boy’s face, 'You keep breathing; you keep looking at me.'

"All of us coaches get training, but now that I’ve seen it, I might be ready to do it. I feel like I’ve got an incredible role model. I’ve seen him do it for real. I was absolutely blown away."

The Importance of AEDs
The most effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest and, indeed, the only effective response to commotio cordis, is the timely delivery of a life-saving shock or defibrillation.  Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are portable and easy-to-use devices that deliver potentially life-saving defibrillation therapy quickly and effectively. Tens of thousands of lives that would have otherwise been lost have been saved by AEDs.

US Lacrosse has had a strategic alliance with Cardiac Science for several years to help make AEDs more affordable to youth lacrosse programs and to raise awareness of commotio cordis. Last year, US Lacrosse awarded AED grants to 14 youth lacrosse programs and the organization is currently accepting applications through July 1 for its next AED grant cycle. Application information can be found here: