High school program teaches kids to recognize dangerous health symptoms

Focus is on heat, heart, head injuries
Posted at 5:31 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 13:03:02-04

NORTH PARK, Calif. (KGTV)--A program at St. Augustine High School will help save kids lives, by teaching them the warning signs of head, heart and heat related injuries.

About 70 students will take the "Athletes Saving Athletes" course Thursday morning.

"These are, or could be, life or death situations," says Samantha Villa, the school's head athletic trainer.

The course is part of the Athletes for Injured Athletes Foundation, designed to "harness the power of peer-to-peer communication and the value of educating student athletes in basic sports safety," according to its website.

The goal is to make the kids the eyes and ears on the field, when trainers can't be at every single practice or game.

It's especially important in California, Villa says. The state is the only one in America that doesn't regulate athletic trainers at schools. According to the program, there are 143 schools in the state that don't even have a certified athletic trainer on staff.

Meanwhile, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among athletes under the age of 25.

Kaori Anderson-Walker took the course at St. Augustine last Fall, and says it's made him more aware of himself and his teammates during football practice.

"You should be able to tell if your teammate is not acting the same or if you're not acting the same," he says.

The class also teaches "Hands Only" CPR, and introduces students to basic functions of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

"If we can get kids to know where their AED is, if we can get kids to recognize that their teammate is having dizziness or headaches or difficulty remembering their plays, they can then notify their coach or an adult and that can speed up the process and care for that child and possibly save a life," says Villa.