Non-contact collapse of an athlete, coach, referee, or bystander is presumed to be sudden cardiac arrest. While not common, an immediate and appropriate on-site response with bystander intervention is critical for a potential positive outcome. As part of your emergency action plan (EAP) "hands only CPR" with the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) should be incorporated as part of your program. All staff and players should be educated and trained on this skill with access to an AED either on site or within a rapid response by local emergency personnel. U.S. Soccer recommends annual video or on-site skills CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training for coaches, referees, parents and players 10 years and older.
Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack, but is often due to a cardiovascular disorder causing the heart to suddenly and unexpectedly stop beating. The leading cause of death for youth and teen athletes during exercise, sudden cardiac arrest can happen without warning during any physical activity. Knowing how to react when a player suddenly drops on the field is crucial to saving a life. U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover program provides resources to help players, parents, coaches and referees better understand cardiac events.