Student Deaths Prompt Calls For Defibrillators, CPR Training

Ind. Mother Raises Money For Defibrillators

The recent deaths of two student athletes from cardiac arrest is renewing calls for defibrillators and CPR training in schools.

The funeral for a 16-year-old Michigan boy who collapsed and died after scoring the winning basket for his team last week was held Tuesday. Doctors said he had an enlarged heart that had gone undiagnosed.

For the past five years, Jackie Renfrow, of Indianapolis, has helped raise money to outfit schools with defibrillators following the deaths of her young son and daughter, who both suffered cardiac arrest in their sleep, 6News' Stacia Matthews reported.

"We have something called long QT, and I didn't find out until it was too late to save my children," she said.

To help save others, Renfrow has helped furnish six defibrillators, which cost $1,700 each, in central Indiana schools since January.

"It saves lives,” she said. “You never know when someone is going to go down. We lose 32,000 people per year, 7,000 will be young kids."

Still, Renfrow said more needs to be done. She wants Indiana students to learn CPR at school.

Dr. Ed Harlamert, a cardiologist with Indiana University Health, supports the idea.

"(Learning) the concept of breathing, the concept of preserving the airway. All those things could be taught to young people. I think they would do it,” he said.

Harlamert stressed that CPR keeps blood flowing to the brain until the defibrillator can jump starts the heart.

Renfrow will donate another defibrillator at the Center Grove High School football stadium March 16 and 6 p.m. Certified CPR instructors will be on hand to give free lessons. The event is open to the public.