New York Program
The Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation and the Dominic A Murray 21 Foundation were founded to ensure that SCA tragedies are prevented. The Foundations are committed to improving sports safety by training coaches, sports personnel and bystanders to recognize SCA and respond immediately. Basic life support training and access to life-saving defibrillators in all schools and youth athletic organizations are crucial to achieve this goal. Our collective goal is to ensure that schools in New York State have the tools and resources to respond in the event of an emergency.
- May 2002 section 917 to the Education Law, "Louis' Law" requires public school districts, BOCES, county vocational education and extension boards, and charter schools to provide and maintain on-site, in each instructional school facility, a functional automated external defibrillator (AED) for use during emergencies.
- To date many lives have been saved from sudden cardiac arrest in NYS public schools.
- Louis J. Acompora
On March 25, 2000, Louis J. Acompora died from a condition known as commotio cordis, which resulted from a blow to his chest while playing lacrosse during his first high school game. He was only 14 years old.
This fatal condition quickly leads to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). It is a poorly recognized and underreported event that affects healthy young athletes. Following Louis' tragic death, the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation has dedicated its mission to raising awareness among schools and other public institutions about the importance of owning automated external defibrillators (AED), a simple device that would have saved Louis' life. In 2002, the New York State legislature enacted Louis' law which mandates all public schools have AEDs and programs for their use. To date many lives have been saved including students.
- Dominic Murray
Dominic Murray was only 17 when his life was cut short by sudden cardiac arrest, resulting from cardiac hypertrophy related to an underlying heart condition.
Dominic collapsed and died on the basketball court at Farmingdale State College on October 5, 2009 just after having received medical clearance to play college sports. Dominic suffered from a congenital heart defect that went undetected by conventional clearance standards. Although Dominic showed signs of a sudden cardiac arrest episode, when his SCA occurred, his symptoms went unrecognized by all around him. Dominic's sudden cardiac death occurred only three years after his father's fatal heart attack, at the age of 42.
What happened to Dominic is not rare. SCA can happen to Anyone's Child and is Everyone's Cause. Dominic's mother Melinda Murray started the Dominic A. Murray 21 Memorial Foundation to raise awareness on sudden cardiac arrest and to prevent another loss of a child of such a preventable tragedy. The Foundation is committed to expanding CPR-AED training, AED access, and heart screenings, so that no other family loses a child, for lack of screening, training or life-saving equipment.
The Foundation has CPR-AED trained thousands of individuals, screened young hearts for potentially life threatening cardiac issues, placed AEDs in under-served communities, and equips youth serving organizations with AEDs for use during sports games, practices, events and travel.
- Dan Cochran
Dan Cochran, a sophomore at Jamesville-DeWitt, was participating in tryouts for a summer all-star lacrosse team when he was hit in the chest by another player's shot, and his heart stopped beating.
Cyndi Kelder, a trainer at Fayetteville-Manlius, where the tryouts were taking place, used an AED to restart Cochran's heart.
Dan had an episode of commotio cordis. The lacrosse ball struck him in the rib cage underneath his chest protector. Cochran fell face forward to the ground. Commotio cordis is a medical term that refers to a rare but potentially fatal phenomenon in athletes participating in sporting events that result in sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Commotio cordis happens when a blunt but often relatively mild blow (normally from a moving object) to the chest occurs directly over the heart during a precise moment of the heart's normal rhythm cycle and induces SCA in the victim.
- Katarina Weigel
When she collapsed and almost died, 15-year-old Katarina Weigel of Yorktown was doing jumping jacks. It was Thursday afternoon, July 15th, and she was warming up for pre-season volleyball practice in the gym at Yorktown High School.
Katarina's heart had stopped, causing her to fall, hit her head on the floor and become unresponsive. But despite all that, it turned out that she had been fortunate. People had been on hand to help, and the incident brought to light a potentially fatal cardiac defect so that it could be treated—and her life protected.
In seconds, her three coaches placed the AED pads on Katarina's chest, the machine prompted them to stop giving CPR. Just as the AED finished its analysis of Katarina's vital signs—but before it administered a shock—she revived.
The Weigel's learned that Katarina clearly experienced a life-threatening arrhythmia. “I believe that if Katarina had not been resuscitated on the gymnasium floor, she would not have recovered,” says Dr. Friedman, Katarina's physician. Katarina now has an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator—a small device that monitors the heart's rhythms and automatically corrects abnormalities—and she leads a normal active life.
- Leah Olverd
On August 31, 2006, 14-year-old Leah was trying out for her high school volleyball team, collapsed and was in cardiac arrest.
She had no previous medical condition other than being diagnosed at age 7 with mitral valve prolapse. After she collapsed, her coach began CPR and the school's AED was quickly connected to Leah. She was shocked 4 times before she regained a pulse. Leah had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placed. Leah has graduated from Fordham University and leads a full active life thanks to her well trained coaches and her school having the AED immediately accessible.
- Kaitlin Forbes
On May 11, 2005, Rhinebeck High School N.Y., 15-year-old Kaitlin Forbes was playing co-ed softball. Kaitlin had just hit the ball and ran to first base when she told her teammate she did not feel well.
Kaitlin the collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest on the school ballfield. Kaitlin's teamates and coaches sprang into action. Her coach and the school nurse performed CPR while another retrieved the AED.
At the hospital, doctors determined that Kaitlin's sudden cardiac arrest had been caused by acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart triggered by the walking pneumonia no one knew she had. Her heart never re-established its own rhythm, and after four days on an external pacemaker, doctors attached an internal pacemaker to her heart. Kaitlin has now graduated college and is living a normal active life.