AED’s and Bedford Athletics

February 8, 2023

The incident involving the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin a few weeks ago has brought new attention to cardiac incidents in sports. HBO Real Sports did a great segment on the subject. They reported that the statistics are alarming, namely, every 3-4 days a student athlete suffers from cardiac arrest. The good news is that if you administer CPR and a defibrillator quickly the survival rate is as high as 90 percent. The story goes on to explore what’s happening around the country in schools as it relates to having these AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) available. With statistics like that you can’t help but wonder about our own town.  

Damar Hamlin’s collapse brought a renewed attention to cardiac incidents in sports. Image: CBS Sunday Morning

So what is the story on AED’s in Bedford?

I reached out to Heidi Porter, Bedford’s Director of Health and Human Services. Porter said that the health department is very aware of the issue and pointed out that Bedford has 16 AED’s located in Town buildings. Here’s a complete list with locations: Town of Bedford, MA – AED Locations.

She went on to say that part of the Department of Health’s budget includes funds to maintain and replace the AEDs on a regular basis. She also mentioned that a few years back there was an incident during an adult basketball game where a player went into cardiac arrest and was successfully revived with the AED at the gym.

Porter said that the health department occasionally holds CPR training classes that include the proper use of the AED’s and CPR. She also mentioned that the Red Cross offers classes frequently. A quick search of their website came up with 477 courses near Bedford. American Red Cross AED training and certification near Bedford 

I also talked with Keith Mangan, Director of Athletics & Wellness for school sports, who said that Bedford has AED’s at all the facilities, gyms, and rinks and that the coaches and trainers are all trained in CPR and the proper use of the machines. Mangan said the MIAA mandates having AEDs available at all MIAA events.

Minutes – even seconds – matter in these cases, so it’s good to be prepared. It’s a good idea to learn where the AEDs are and how they work.

Here is a short training video from CBS News showing how to use an AED:

How to use an AED in cases of cardiac arrest

  • *Correction: an earlier version of this story that AED’s were available at athletic fields. AED’s are not permanently located at all fields. The athletic trainer brings a portable AED with her to athletics fields where she is in attendance. Please look at the above chart for the location of the nearest AED.
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