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In his still-new career as a point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio has made a habit of making heart-stopping plays. Now the Spanish star is being used to help teach the public how to re-start a heart.
Rubio is working with the Medtronic Foundation this month to help save young lives from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Through the foundation’s HeartRescue Project, Rubio will lend a "virtual" hand in teaching the public how to respond quickly to an emergency.
SCA is defined as “a sudden, abrupt loss of heart function primarily caused by rapid and/or chaotic electrical activity.” It often occurs without warning and can kill a person within minutes unless treated with CPR and a defibrillator.
According to the Medtronic Foundation, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among young athletes, with a young person dying from SCA every three days. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2,000 Americans under the age of 25 die of SCA annually. The risk of sudden cardiac death is three times greater in competitive athletes. In all, nearly 385,000 Americans die from SCA each year – more than breast cancer, colon cancer, lunch cancer and prostate cancer combined.
In 2012, the HeartRescue Project produced the “Save-a-Life Simulator,” an online video tool featuring an SCA victim stricken at a busy shopping mall. The simulator strung together many possible reactions to witnessing SCA in real time to help people learn which steps to take in a real emergency. According to the Medtronic Foundation, since the simulator’s launch, more than five million people have learned how to save a life.
Now Rubio is helping unveil the newest “Save-a-Life Simulator.” Using first-person point-of-view videos, the viewer joins Rubio for a workout at the gym where they both witness a person collapse from SCA.
In the video, Rubio helps guide visitors through a series of critical choices, starting with an initial decision to help the victim or ignore the situation and keep working out. Visitors then follow a series of hands-on decisions. The folks at the Medtronic Foundation say they hope Rubio's involvement will draw attention to sudden cardiac arrest – as well as provide basic technique for how to save a life.
In addition to the simulator, Rubio and Timberwolves players will attend clinics hosted at Twin Cities' schools in February as part of the Timberwolves' FastBreak Foundation WolvesFit month. These clinics will focus on health and fitness and show students the importance of responding to a victim of SCA - knowing that it could happen to anyone in their school.
To participate in the online simulator and learn more about sudden cardiac arrest, go to HeartRescueNow.com.