Ten life-saving devices will be placed at public sports venues throughout Bartholomew County.

The donation of automated external defibrillators by Columbus Regional Hospital and Indiana University Health was announced during a Monday ceremony at the Columbus hospital.

An additional 10 defibrillators brings the number of the life-saving devices in public areas throughout Bartholomew County to at least 53.

Eight organizations have agreed to place the 10 units at sports venues that they are associated with.

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One final AED was presented to the Dylan Williams Forever an All-Star Foundation, located in Union City east of Muncie.

The foundation strives to bring awareness of the importance of CPR training and the placement of life-saving AEDS at youth sports fields. It is named in honor of an 8-year-old Union City boy who died in 2013, one day after being after being hit in the back of the head by a baseball during practice at an athletic complex where no defibrillators were located.

Each of the Powerheart AEDs, manufactured by the Wisconsin-based Cardiac Science Corp., has a retail price of $2,130, company representative Troy Pflunger said. That makes the value of the Bartholomew County donation $21,300.

The donation, announced during National Heart Month, was made possible through a partnership between the health providers to promote community health, said Julie Abedian, Columbus Regional Health’s vice president of community partnerships and corporate responsibility.

But it was specifically the CRH Heart and Vascular program that did most of the behind-the-scenes work to make the joint donation possible, Abedian said.

More than 40 people gathered at the hospital’s Kroot Auditorium for the presentation.

What device does

An AED is a portable device that sends an electric shock through the chest to the heart that can restore a normal rhythm, Pflunger said.

The life-saving machines are mostly used in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, which is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease, according to data presented during the presentation.

While cardiac arrest is most often associated with older people with enlarged hearts or coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythms also can occur in seemingly healthy young athletes, according to the National Heart Rhythm Foundation.

In these cases, it often turns out that the athlete had an undiagnosed condition, such as cardiomyopathy, according to information on the foundation’s website.

The fact that sudden cardiac arrest can strike without warning is a key reason why Abedian described AEDs as “a critical service that must be there when needed.”

For the benefit of each receiving organization, Pflunger used a mannequin during the presentation to show how the machines work.

During the demonstration, voice instructions in both English and Spanish were made on how to provide the electric shock and how to properly administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The most common reason why people are afraid of using AEDs during emergency situations is a fear of being shocked themselves, Pflunger said.

However, his demonstration showed the Powerheart defibrillator provides a warning and verbal countdown before it administers electricity, ensuring the user will not be hurt, he said.

While putting AEDs in sports complexes and other public areas addresses one problem, it’s difficult at times to quickly pinpoint their exact location within a facility when needed.

That was a problem that Columbus North senior Mark Sallee-Tabor, a football and soccer player, helped address as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Last year, Sallee-Tabor worked with both PulsePoint.org and the hospital to create AED location apps that show exactly where various defibrillators are located.

For example, the PulsePoint app specially shows the defibrillator at The Commons is just above the trash and recycling bins between the restrooms and playground.

Joining Salle-Tabor on Monday were fellow Columbus North students Lilly Reynolds and Jennifer Guteman, who have pledged to continue updating and uploading new AED locations to the PulsePoint app as they find them.

New recipients

One or two automated external defibrillators — of a total of 10 — will be provided to each of the following sports complexes or organizations as a result of a donation by Columbus Regional Hospital and Indiana University Health.

  • Kids First Daycare
  • Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds/Bartholomew County Special Olympics
  • Bartholomew County Bears Bantam Football program, Taylorsville
  • Clifty Park Softball Complex
  • Blackwell Soccer Complex
  • Dunn Stadium Softball Complex
  • Columbus BMX Track
  • Columbus Young Marines at St. John’s Masonic Lodge

Past recipients

These past donations of automated external defibrillators were made possible through the Columbus Regional Hospital Foundation.

2006: Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. (17), Hauser Jr./Sr. High School (1), Quinco Behavioral Health (6)

2007: ABC-Stewart School (1), Brown County Schools (4), White Creek Lutheran School (1), Columbus Christian School (1), St. Bartholomew Catholic School (1), St. Peter’s Lutheran School (1), Brown County YMCA (1)

2008: Flat Rock-Hawcreek Schools (2), BCSC Outdoor Athletic Facilities (2), Columbus Lacrosse Club (2), Police Athletic Activities League (1)

2016: Rock Steady Boxing (1)

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.