Gooter Foundation’s AED donations to sports leagues even more important in the wake of COVID-19

Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 10:32 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Life saving devices are set to be distributed across southern Arizona.

The Steven M. Gooter Foundation received a $25,000 grant from the Fiesta Bowl Charities and will be using it to purchase 28 AEDs to be placed with organized youth sports teams/organizations in Southern Arizona.

Recent studies show that myocarditis, or scarring of the heart tissue, affects 60% of COVID survivors. It’s why placement of AEDs at all athletic competition venues are now more critically needed than ever.

“This broadens the scope of need for something like this,” said FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club President Ted Schmidt. “The added potential for heart problems related to COVID give us an even stronger sense of security having the AED here.”

Doctors say those with mild myocarditis may feel shortness of breath, and in the worst-case scenario, the heart stops, leading to sudden cardiac death. It’s one of the reasons the PAC-12 and Big 10 decided to postpone their seasons in the fall, due to a few athletes developing it.

“A lot of these athletes don’t even know they can have this,” said Steven M. Gooter Foundation President Andrew Messing. “For that reason it’s so important that different sports facilities, schools, police, have AED’s available.”

Schmidt agrees. “It really broadens the scope of folks you think you’re going to have to use it on. You don’t think you’re going to have to use an AED on a child having a heart attack. More likely it’s going to be a coach or a referee or something like that. So this broadens the scope of need for something like this.”

A $4000 grant from the Sundt Foundation will be used to place 4 AEDs in the community: Two will go to The Community Food Bank (the Gootter Foundation has previously donated an AED – with this addition they will now have one at each location). One will go to the HSL Center of Opportunity for their new facility (they have previously received 2 for their other locations), and 1 to the Ronald McDonald House for their second location (they have previously received one for their original location).

MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) awarded the foundation a $5000 grant to further expand on earlier donations of AEDs in patrol cars.

To date, the Gootter Foundation has placed AEDs in 160 patrol cars throughout Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita. During the pandemic there has been a substantial increase in heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. Oftentimes people with symptoms that would normally go to the hospital, have stayed home making first responder patrol cars with AEDs the front line in saving these lives.

To date, the Gooter foundation has also donated 350 AED’s across southern Arizona.

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