DALLAS, October 16, 2023 — The National Football League (NFL) Foundation and the American Heart Association are helping kids and their families be confident and capable when faced with a cardiac emergency, adding more people to the Association’s Nation of Lifesavers™ movement. Students who participate in the Association’s in-school program, Kids Heart Challenge™, receive free Hands-Only CPR instruction so they can be confident and capable to respond in a cardiac emergency. More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year,[1] 70% of those occurring at home.[2] A scientific statement from the American Heart Association shows that children as young as age four can impact the survival rate by calling 911.[3] The chances of survival can double or triple if witnesses are able to respond immediately with the lifesaving skill of CPR when someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest.[4]

“This is another important step in our long-standing partnership with the American Heart Association, which also is a founding member of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility. “We look forward to continuing to work with the AHA to make our school communities safer places by teaching students and educators Hands-Only CPR. Together, we can help build a nation of lifesavers, one student, one school at a time.” 

The NFL’s support of this work includes the production of an introduction video by Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills safety and cardiac arrest survivor. In the video which appears, in advance of the Kids Heart Challenge Hands-Only CPR online learning module, Hamlin shares that CPR saved his life and encourages kids to learn the lifesaving skill. Each elementary student who completes the online learning module will earn an entry for two tickets to Super Bowl LIX in 2025 to be played in New Orleans. Five winners will be drawn. Additionally, Kids Heart Challenge participating schools will receive entries to win a $10,000 fitness equipment makeover for student participation. Five schools will receive grants. The winners will be officially notified on July 17, 2024.

"As long-term collaborators, this represents a natural evolution of the American Heart Association and the NFL partnership, which has focused on children's mental and physical well-being through NFL PLAY 60," explained Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "Meeting children where they are in fun and engaging ways inspires children to get excited about health, including learning Hands-Only CPR.  Together we are enhancing health outcomes both at home and beyond."

According to the Association, the worldwide leader in resuscitation science, education and training, more than 90% of people experiencing cardiac arrest will not survive.[5] With nearly 3 out of 4 cardiac arrests outside of the hospital occurring in homes,[6] knowing how to perform CPR is critically important. Hands-Only CPR is chest compression-only CPR. Following the cardiac arrest of a teen or an adult, compression-only CPR can be equally effective as traditional CPR in the first few minutes of emergency response.[7] If a teen or adult collapses, witnesses should immediately call emergency services and begin chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute and a depth of approximately two inches.[8]

With a foundation set in physical activity and rooted in proven science, Kids Heart Challenge has expanded beyond the gymnasium to meet the needs of today’s youth and educators as science has proven the strong connection between physical and mental health. The program offers a variety of activities to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as dance, basketball or jumping rope paired with digital missions such as Hands-Only CPR. The Association has worked with schools across the nation for 47 years promoting physical health and wellness.

The movement in support of a Nation of Lifesavers also includes the Association’s efforts to drive public policy change at the federal, state and local levels. The Association has endorsed the federal Access to AEDs Act, which would create a grant program for K-12 schools to provide CPR and AED training; purchase AEDs; and create local cardiac emergency response plans that establish specific steps to reduce death from cardiac arrest in school settings.

In addition, the Association is also a founding member along with the NFL and other major sports leagues of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, which is advocating for states to adopt evidence-based public policies that will prevent fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school students.

The Association encourages everyone, everywhere to join in the Nation of Lifesavers initiative and make CPR awareness and education a permanent fixture in all communities across the country. Take 90 seconds to learn how to save a life now at www.heart.org/nation

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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 nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX, or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Linzy Cotaya: 504-872-3446; linzy.cotaya@heart.org

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

heart.org and stroke.org

[3] KIDS SAVE LIVES: Basic Life Support Education for Schoolchildren: A Narrative Review and Scientific Statement From the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation,  https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001128

[5] 11 https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001123 (2023 American Heart Association Stats Update)

[7] Hands-Only (Compression-Only) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Call to Action for Bystander Response to Adults Who Experience Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.189380

[8] 2020 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, https://www.ahajournals.org/toc/circ/142/16_suppl_2