An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It is a sophisticated, yet easy to use, medical device that can analyze the heart's rhythm, and if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
The Wes Leonard Heart Team was created in memory of Wes Leonard, a sixteen-year old Fennville High School basketball player who collapsed on the court after making a game winning shot in 2011. It was later determined Leonard died of sudden cardiac arrest. The team brings awareness to the importance of automated external defibrillators in schools, and helps with providing AEDs to schools that have need for the expensive devices.
The donation from the Wes Leonard Heart Team brings the district’s AED total to six. The AEDs are spread throughout the district gymnasiums and school buildings on campus, placed strategically to allow the user to attain the device in the least amount of precious life-saving time. Iron Mountain Public Schools Nurse, Kathleen “Cookie” Brooks, applied for and acquired the $1900 life-saving device. “At Iron Mountain Public Schools, we have students with cardiac issues. One in three hundred youth are living with undetected heart conditions. Just having the AED in our schools is not enough. We, the nurses, are meeting with staff this month to run drills and make sure our Medical Emergency Response team knows how and when to use the AEDs.”
Iron Mountain Public Schools is proud to have a MI HEARTSafe School designation from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Education, American Heart Association, Michigan High School Athletic Association, and Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young. The district’s buildings met standards that indicate preparation and readiness for cardiac emergencies during the 2020-2021 school year and will have the MI HEARTSafe designation until the end of the 2022-2023 school year. These standards include multiple drills and learning opportunities for school staff. In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, the district is ready to implement the chain of survival to save lives.
To learn more about the Wes Leonard Heart Team and Wes’ legacy, please visit https://wesleonardheartteam.org/ .