DURHAM, N.C., April 25, 2024 — Throughout the week of April 15, members of the Duke University men’s and women’s cross country teams participated in an American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training to learn the correct rate and depth of CPR compressions to be confident and capable when faced with a cardiac emergency. Learning Hands-Only CPR is the skill needed to join the Association’s Nation of Lifesavers™ movement, which intends to double survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest by 2030. According to American Heart Association data, 9 out of every 10 of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die, in part because they do not receive immediate CPR more than half of the time. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

Compression-only CPR known as Hands-Only CPR can be equally effective as traditional CPR in the first few minutes of emergency response and is a skill everyone can learn. It is as simple as calling 911 if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse and then push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

“As we celebrate 100 years of lifesaving work, it remains mission critical for the American Heart Association to teach the vital and extraordinary skill of CPR to everyone, everywhere as we work to improve the chain of survival,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. “Knowing how to respond in a cardiac emergency when seconds matter is the difference between life and death. We are so proud to support Duke University to add more lifesavers in the community.”

The American Heart Association is the worldwide leader in resuscitation science, education and training, and publishes the official guidelines for CPR. With nearly 3 out of 4 cardiac arrests outside of the hospital occurring in homes, knowing how to perform CPR is critically important. More than 350,000 people in the US have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year.

"Hands-Only CPR instruction, through the Nation of Lifesavers campaign, provided an exceptional platform to Hands-Only CPR train our staff, student-athletes and broader community. The recent sessions conducted by the American Heart Association on our campus were met with tremendous enthusiasm and participation. As we look ahead, we're excited to continue collaborating with the American Heart Association on further initiatives in support of this valuable campaign,” said Tara Siesel, associate director of athletic medicine at Duke.

The American Heart Association’s Nation of Lifesavers initiative is led by cardiac arrest survivor and Buffalo Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, serving as the national ambassador. Hamlin suffered sudden cardiac arrest in January 2023 on Monday Night Football. He received CPR and AED live on television as in-stadium attendees and viewers at home watched those very first links in the chain of survival working. In this role, Hamlin has supported efforts to increase CPR education through public service announcements, in-person trainings and advocating for federal policy change to increase access to AEDs. The Access to AEDs Act, supported by the American Heart Association, aims to create a CPR an AED training program for K-12 schools to provide CPR and AED training; purchase AEDs; and create cardiac emergency response plans that establish specific steps to reduce death from cardiac arrest in school settings.

Last year, the NFL launched The Smart Heart Sports Coalition in collaboration with the NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, NCAA and others including the American Heart Association. The goal of the national campaign is to prevent death from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) among high school athletes by advocating for all 50 states to adopt evidence-based policies that is designed to prevent fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school students. As many as 23,000 people under the age of 18 experience sudden cardiac arrest annually (out-of-hospital). It is a leading cause of death for student athletes. Sports-related sudden cardiac arrest accounted for nearly 40% of sudden cardiac arrests among people under the age of 18. If implemented across all 50 states, these simple, cost-effective strategies can prevent deaths from sudden cardiac arrest.


About the American Heart Association 

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.    

For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association

Linzy Cotaya: linzy.cotaya@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

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