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Vanderbilt University women s basketball team joins the Nation of Lifesavers

(NewMediaWire) - February 26, 2024 - NASHVILLE — On Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the on campus Memorial Gymnasium, members of the Vanderbilt University women’s basketball team 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 pushing 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 increase the chain of survival when seconds matter," said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. “Knowing how to respond in a cardiac emergency when seconds matter is literally the difference between life and death. We are so proud to support Vanderbilt 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.

“We’re always looking for ways to prepare our team to be the best on and off the court, and working with the American Heart Association to learn Hands-Only CPR is something we couldn’t pass up,” said Kyla Irwin, women’s basketball director of player development and community relations at Vanderbilt University. “Our team enjoyed learning the lifesaving skill and the value of what it means to know CPR. We are very thankful for the opportunity to learn and support the chain of survival.”

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 would create a grant 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.

Earlier this 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 will prevent fatal outcomes from SCA among high school students. As many as 23,000 people under the age of 18 experience SCA annually (out-of-hospital). It is a leading cause of death for student athletes. Sports-related SCA accounted for nearly 40% of SCAs among people under the age of 18. If implemented across all 50 states, these simple, cost-effective strategies can prevent deaths from SCA.


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, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.    

For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association

Linzy Cotaya: 504-872-3446;

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

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