Starting Hearts Welcomed as Member Of The NFL Smart Heart Sports Coalition

Vail, Colorado 10/24/23. With October marking Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, the NFL recently announced that the Smart Heart Sports Coalition has expanded to include Starting Hearts, along with its other 36 esteemed group of sports and medical organizations in raising awareness to save precious lives

Founded in March 2023 in response to the life-saving emergency response and care provided to Damar Hamlin, the coalition seeks to drive the adoption of evidence-based policies in all 50 states that will prevent fatalities from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) among high school students and school communities. The coalition comprises major sports leagues and organizations, as well as leading patient and health advocacy groups across the country. Some of its members include American Heart Association, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, and Citizen CPR Foundation to name a few.

Starting Hearts joins other members, representing parties along the chain of survival essential to recognizing and treating sudden cardiac arrest.  “We're thrilled these organizations have joined our coalition with the shared goal and commitment of advancing life-saving policies for students in every state," said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Communications, Public Affairs and Policy. “These groups will add to the coalition's impact as we continue to engage in a vigorous, coordinated, and sustained advocacy effort to make school communities safer and more resilient."

Alan Himelfarb, Executive Director, Starting Hearts “Starting Hearts is honored to join the NFL and this dedicated group of professional organizations as a new member of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition. Our mission is to save precious lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims, too many of whom are our young athletes. As passionate educators, we strive every day through our age-appropriate curriculum to empower students and adults across the nation with the skills and confidence to provide early care when needed. We are truly grateful to the NFL and founding coalition members for leading this important initiative."

The coalition is engaged with policymakers in all states to implement the following:

  1. Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) for each high school athletic venue that are widely distributed, posted, rehearsed, and updated annually.
  2. Clearly marked automated external defibrillator (AEDs) at each athletic venue or within 1-3 minutes of each venue where high school practices or competitions are held; and,
  3. CPR and AED education for coaches.

In addition to in-person CPR education and training, Starting Hearts recently launched the first of its kind, state-of-the-art, age-appropriate Call.Push.Shock.™ life-saving curriculum.  This program teaches individuals how to appropriately respond to a sudden cardiac arrest by calling 911, providing chest compressions and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). The one-hour class offers entertaining, engaging, and instructive content, with skills to last a lifetime.

About the Smart Heart Sports Coalition 
Launched in March 2023, the Smart Heart Sports Coalition comprises major sports leagues and organizations as well as leading health, and patient advocacy groups. The coalition's goal is for every state across the country to adopt evidence-based policies proven to prevent fatalities from sudden cardiac arrest among high school athletes, including: An athletic emergency action plan (EAP) that is venue specific, widely distributed, posted, rehearsed, and updated annually. Clearly marked AEDs at each venue or within minutes of each venue where high school practices or competitions are held. CPR education, including AED training, for coaches.