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Parrish Medical Center Tackles Leading Cause of Death Among Young Athletes; Equips North Brevard Youth Athletic Leagues with Lifesaving AEDs

Parrish Medical Center Tackles Leading Cause of Death Among Young Athletes; Equips North Brevard Youth Athletic Leagues with Lifesaving AEDs

TITUSVILLE, FL (February 20, 2024)— Parrish Medical Center, a Parrish Healthcare integrated care partner, tackles the leading cause of death among young athletes and improves access to lifesaving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training to all North Brevard schools and sports leagues.

“We believe every school and youth sports field should have access to an AED,” said Parrish Healthcare President/CEO George Mikitarian.

“Every two to three days in the U.S., a young athlete dies as the result of sudden cardiac arrest,” according to The Sports Institute. In fact, sudden cardiac arrest is the number one cause of sudden death in young athletes.

Every youth sports league in North Brevard has received brand new, state-of-the-art AEDs courtesy of Parrish Healthcare.

“The survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest in schools with AEDs is 7x higher than those without,” said Parrish Healthcare Athletic Training Director Kellie Way.

“When trained first-responders are on-site and able to quickly perform CPR and use an AED, lives and heart muscle are saved, further improving the odds for a fast and full recovery,” added Way.

In the midst of play or practice, cardiac arrest happens suddenly. With no warning, a young athlete can suddenly collapse as was the case when 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin's heart stopped in the middle of a game on national television. The first-responders performed CPR and used an AED to restore his heart rhythm.

"Parrish Medical Center's outstanding Athletic Training Program, led by dedicated Director Kellie Way, has been a game changer for our Titusville Terrier Youth Sports Association. The comprehensive training opportunities, including CPR and AED training for coaches and board members, have not only enhanced our athletes' performance but also prioritized their safety,” said Janay Gelin, Public Relations Director, Titusville Terrier Youth Sports Association.

“This partnership, coupled with life-saving skills acquired, ensured a secure and successful season. Looking ahead, we are confident that these invaluable trainings will continue to benefit our teams in seasons to come,” added Gelin.

More than 400 children throughout north Brevard participate each sport season. When you add coaches, faculty, parents and other spectators, the number of lives this initiative benefits are significant.

With the deployment of these AEDs, Parrish Medical Center expands upon its commitment to prevent sudden cardiac arrest and other sports injuries among young athletes.

Parrish Medical Group Sports Medicine and Athletic Training has long provided a board-certified Sports Medicine physician, Dr. Anthony Allotta, and certified Athletic Trainers to support the coaches and athletes on the fields during practice and at the games. Additionally, the Parrish Sports Medicine and Athletic Training program annually provides access to affordable sports physicals to North Brevard students and was the catalyst to the partnership with Who We Play For, a likeminded nonprofit that exists to eliminate preventable sudden cardiac death in the young through affordable heart screenings and AEDs.

The AEDs were funded by a grant from the Jess Parrish Medical Foundation, a Parrish Healthcare integrated partner. For more information about Parrish Healthcare or its Sports Medicine program, visit