Inter-Association Task Force Recommendations on Emergency Preparedness and Management of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in High School and College Athletic Programs: A Consensus Statement

Jonathan A. Drezner, Ron W. Courson, William O. Roberts, Vincent N. Mosesso, Mark S. Link, Barry J. Maron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objective: To assist high school and college athletic programs prepare for and respond to a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This consensus statement summarizes our current understanding of SCA in young athletes, defines the necessary elements for emergency preparedness, and establishes uniform treatment protocols for the management of SCA. Background: Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes. The increasing presence of and timely access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at sporting events provides a means of early defibrillation and the potential for effective secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death. An Inter-Association Task Force was sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers' Association to develop consensus recommendations on emergency preparedness and management of SCA in athletes. Recommendations: Comprehensive emergency planning is needed for high school and college athletic programs to ensure an efficient and structured response to SCA. Essential elements of an emergency action plan include establishing an effective communication system, training of anticipated responders in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED use, access to an AED for early defibrillation, acquisition of necessary emergency equipment, coordination and integration of onsite responder and AED programs with the local emergency medical services system, and practice and review of the response plan. Prompt recognition of SCA, early activation of the emergency medical services system, the presence of a trained rescuer to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and access to early defibrillation are critical in the management of SCA. In any collapsed and unresponsive athlete, SCA should be suspected and an AED applied as soon as possible for rhythm analysis and defibrillation if indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-565
Number of pages17
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Jon Almquist, ATC National Athletic Trainers’ Association Secondary School Athletic Training Committee Jeffrey Anderson, MD American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Jeffrey Bytomski, DO American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine Steven Chudik, MD American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Ian Greenwald, MD American College of Emergency Physicians Michael Krauss, MD National Collegiate Athletic Association Competitive Safeguards Committee Shahram Lotfipour, MD, MPH American Academy of Emergency Medicine Eugene Luckstead, Jr, MD American Academy of Pediatrics Raina Merchant, MD American Heart Association Connie Meyer, MICT National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Vincent N. Mosesso, Jr, MD National Association of Emergency Medical Service Physicians William O. Roberts, MD, FACSM American College of Sports Medicine Johnny Scott, PhD, MD National Federation of State High School Associations Michele Weinstein, PT, MS, SCS, ATC American Physical Therapy Association Sports Physical Therapy Section


  • Athletes
  • Automated external defibrillators
  • Emergency action plan
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Sudden cardiac death


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