By Barry Matulaitis, Staff Editor
JAY — Thanks to a donation from the Jake Lord Play It Safe Foundation (JLPISF), Spruce Mountain High School (SMHS) teams and visiting schools are the recipients of a new, portable Automated External Defibrillator (AED) that can be used at games.
Jenna Winokur, founder of the JLPISF, said she had talked about current needs of the SMHS sports teams with athletic trainer Jeremy Starbird. He mentioned the school didn’t have a portable AED.
“The JLPISF was happy to fill this need for the school, as it’s really important to have an AED that can be brought outside to the sports fields,” she said.
Starbird explained that it will be immensely helpful for him to have it with the distances between athletic fields and several games in progress at the same time.
“Obviously, you never want to have to use it, but with fields so spread out and baseball and football being off campus, it’s pretty important,” he said. “To have that is invaluable.”
Football and baseball play their games in Livermore Falls, while the rest of the SMHS teams play at the high school campus in Jay.
Starbird said that many high school athletic trainers have portable AED’s.
“Pretty much every school nowadays has one,” he said. “It’s very foolproof. You just turn it on and it tells you what to do.”
Winokur added that having the portable AED allows the device to be used wherever it is needed, for either an athlete or a spectator.
“In the event of a cardiac episode, the sooner an AED is used the better the outcomes are for the victim,” she said. “By having the device available at all athletic events, we’re helping to ensure the safety of our community.”
SMHS Athletic Director Marc Keller is also grateful for the AED donation.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It provides us all kinds of extra protection. It’s about protecting our athletes and the kids competing against us.”
A 2011 graduate of Jay High School, Jake Lord was a star athlete. As a result of head injuries suffered while playing school sports, he died by suicide later that year. His sister, Winokur, created the JLPISF to honor his memory and make playing sports safer.
The mission of the foundation is to promote safety in youth sports, to increase public awareness of the impact of concussions on the mental health of athletes and to promote public policies that will protect youth from the devastating consequences of head injuries.
The foundation’s vision is for every youth athlete to have access to high quality sports equipment to diminish the likelihood of concussions and brain injuries. Players will be supported off the field by coaches and managers trained in maintaining equipment, concussion awareness, baseline screening programs and policies aimed at protecting youth.
For more information or to donate visit http://www.facebook/JLPISF, email email@example.com or call 207-931-9606.