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CPR initiative begins with training coaches (video)


CMSD coaches and teachers are taking a time out from planning lessons this summer to get lessons in CPR.

The District’s Department of Health and Nursing Services has organized the training sessions with a large grant in hopes of eventually teaching CPR to several thousand people.

About 20 educators participated in a training session June 3 at the Barbara Byrd-Bennett Professional Development Center. Nurses were on hand to assist as coaches and physical education teachers practiced with CPR dummies, performing chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

“When you have kids’ lives in your hands, you want to do your best,” CMSD coach Vincent Hunt said. “You can never have enough training.”

Hunt coaches boys track at John Adams High School and football and basketball at Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy. It keeps him busy, but keeping students safe on and off the field is his main focus.

“This is a 24-hour job,” Hunt said. “Parents trust us with them.”

The four-hour course required to learn CPR and become an instructor is available to athletic staff and school nurses for now, but that’s only the beginning. The District’s Department of Health and Nursing Services has a much bigger game plan.

“Take our nurses, our coaches, our teachers, whomever we train, to be instructors to teach kids, staff and the community CPR,” Health and Nursing Services Director Deb Aloshen said. “By the end of next year, the goal is to have three to five thousand people trained.”

She admits it’s a huge task but is ready for the challenge, especially if it means preventing even one tragedy.

“We’ll save lives with this because people are dying and kids are dying,” Aloshen said. “Thirteen years ago I watched a child die on a football field from an arrhythmia, and I never ever want to see that again.”

With the help of school nurses, more training sessions are already in the works this summer and into the fall. They believe it’s a way to get parents in the schools, too.

“The more people that have the knowledge that are able to respond, the more lives we’re going to save,” CMSD school nurse Patricia Breslin said.

The program also includes First Aid and automated external defibrillator training.

“These are our children in our care,” Aloshen said. “We've got to remember that, they’re someone else's child, but when they’re in our care, they’re our child.”