Monday, January 2, 2012

DHHS Boy's Lacrosse May Just Save Your Life

The last act of the 2011 season was donating an AED to honor one of their own.
12:51 pm

It all started when Daniel Hand High School's Coach Lombardo and Assistant Coach George Baldassare of the Boys Lacrosse Program in Madison spoke to the Northport, N.Y. Boys’ Lacrosse Coach at the Annual DHHS Hammonasset Boys Jamboree in March.

The Northport coach told the Madison coaches that Northport brings their own AEDs or Automatic External Defibrillators to all lacrosse games and other athlet ic events, ever since Northport lost 14-year-old Louis Acompora, a lacrosse goalie in 2000.

Louis sustained a blunt blow to his chest from a lacrosse ball, which caused a condition called commotio cordis. Commotio Cordis occurs when the chest sustains a blunt blow during the precise moment the heart is at rest between beats. The heart quivers and goes into an irregular rhythm, which can be reversed only by defibrillation. Commotio Cordis causes SCA, sudden cardiac arrest. Each year thousands of healthy young people suffer sudden cardiac arrest and death, which can often be prevented.  In 2000, there were no state laws mandating AEDs in schools.  Unfortunately, Louis passed away due to SCA.

In 2007, Connecticut’s own Norwich Larry Pontbriant, a very athletic 15-year-old dropped dead in front of his parents while running.  He too was a lacrosse player. Though CPR was initiated immediately, the ambulance with the AED was not able to reach Larry in time to save him.  Brain damage from lack of oxygen can occur in as little as 4 to 6 minutes. After a brief time in the hospital, Larry passed away.  The AED arrived too late to save Larry.

Every minute an AED isn’t used during sudden cardiac arrest, one’s chance of survival decreases 7 to 10%.  After three minutes, survival rates decrease dramatically.  According to “The Larry Pontbriant Athletic Safety Fund” website, “CPR at best is only 25% efficient at pumping enough blood to the brain in SCA thou gh necessary.” Thus, it is imperative that AEDs are readily accessible and available.  Commotio Cordis and sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, young or old.

DHHS Varsity Lacrosse Captains Paul Alberti, Chad Crisco and Casey Dowd wanted their program to give back to the community.

After talking, fund raising, a very generous donation from a lacrosse parent, and much research, they decided they would ask the lacrosse program to purchase and donate an AED to a Connecticut school that was in need.

The Connecticut legislature pa ssed in July of 2009 currently states that schools in the state are required to have AEDs as well as provide the necessary training of staff. The school staff must also maintain the AED.  This bill became effective in 2010. Unfortunately a local or regional board of education shall not be required to comply with the provisions if federal, state or private funding is not available to such local and regional board of education to purchase an AED and pay for the training of school personnel.

After The DHHS lacrosse players approached the boys Lacrosse boosters with this fabulous idea, how could we say nom said Valerie Alberti and Shelly Farmer, co-presidents of the boosters.  The vote was a unanimous ‘"yes" across the board.
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Attempts were made to contact the Athletic Director of the New Haven Schools. The understanding was that most if not all New Haven schools had AEDs.  Pontbriant's mom told Alberti and Farmer that The Pontbriant Athletic Safety Fund was founded to raise funds for the purchase of AEDs for schools and athletic fields. So far they have donated over 75 AEDs to those in need.

Please log onto Parent Heart Watch, you will see many survival stories, as well as stories that touch the heart.

So after much research and investigating, The DHHS Lacrosse boy’s teams discovered an AE D would be greatly appreciated in their own back yard.

Madison’s middle school, Polson, wanted and needed and AED in their gym lobby. Though the school is already equipped with an AED, it was felt one was needed closer to the gymnasium and to the high school turf for easy accessibility. The question of where to donate the AED was solved.

After approval from the Madison Board of Education and the superintendent, the boys decided they would like to donate the AED in honor of their former lacrosse teammate, Jordan Kinscherf.

Jordan Kinsche rf an avid lacrosse and soccer player, a wonderful friend and young man, who tragically lost his life just two years ago.  “Jordan will never be forgotten,” said Mike Frey one of Jordan’s classmates and teammates.  “He will forever be in our hearts.”

“This donation is a reminder that Jordan’s life is to be celebrated,” said Timmy Farmer, a varsity lacrosse player. Jordan’s memory will prevail. 

After receiving approval from Mr. and Mrs. Kinscherf and Jordan’s sister Meredith, the AED was donated in honor of Jordan.  Jordan will always be remembered and his memory will always be eternal.

Just this past June, a Jamesville-Dewitt, N.Y. lacrosse goalie sustained a lacrosse ball to his chest.  His heart went into commotio cordis.  Fortunately, this young man’s coaches and athletic trainer assessed the situation, initiated CPR, called 911 and grabbed an nearby AED.

It was due to this quick plan of action and use of the AED that this young man is doing fine today. Due to the hard work of people such as the Acomporas and the Pontbriants getting legislature changed, an AED was nearby, used, and this young goalie was saved and is fine.

Th ank you DHHS Boys Lacrosse Program for giving back to the community.  The life you save may be your own, or someone close to you.  Madison is proud of all of you.

For more information on AEDs and touching stories contact:

This article was written by Valerie Alb erti, who is honored to be part of the DHHS Boys Lacrosse Boosters and Madison Community. If you would like us to run an article you wrote, please send it to
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