Texas Girl Scout Earns Prestigious Gold Award and Donates ZOLL AED Plus to City Park

Jillian Rash Donates AED to Twin Coves Park and Raises Heart Health Awareness in Flower Mound, Texas


Flower Mound, a close-knit community located just 20 miles northwest of Dallas, is known for its proximity to Grapevine Lake and the eponymous 12-acre hill covered in native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Now, the city has one more claim to fame: the home of newly-minted Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Jillian Rash.

For more than a year, Jillian, a junior at Flower Mound High School, worked tirelessly to increase awareness about heart disease in women and to raise enough money to donate an AED to the city’s popular Twin Coves Park.

After watching town hall meetings and discovering that there was a need for an AED at the park, Jillian set her goals and got to work.

Her incredible Girl Scout Gold Award journey concluded on March 5, 2018, when Jillian made her final heart health awareness presentation to members of City Council. Community attendees were visibly and vocally impressed by the young advocate’s hard work and by her varied efforts to raise awareness around this incredibly important issue.

Of the presentation earlier this month, Jillian says “It was really exciting. It was everything that I had worked on for the past year and a half had come to a peak. I was really proud of all that I had done. I also really enjoyed talking to all the people in the community. I had people coming up to me telling me how AEDs saved their lives. It’s just really exciting to see that my project had an impact on people and that they benefited from it. That was my goal.”

Frank Mannino, a strategic account manager for Cardio Partners, had the privilege of handing over the ZOLL AED Plus to Jillian, who then presented it to park manager Mark Long. She also was able to donate a recessed wall cabinet to help ensure visibility and public access to the life-saving device.

“Cardio Partners was really excited to help and to offer our support for such a dedicated young woman who wants to help her community,” says Mannino. “I know hundreds of people who do this for a living and I was so impressed that she volunteered to do this! Education is key, really. And she took the time to educate herself and then put in all the effort to educate other people and change her community. She’s teaching people how to react in the event of a cardiac emergency and giving individuals a chance.”

Jillian chose this ambitious project after witnessing the devastating impact of heart disease in her community and subsequently learning that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. The American Heart Association notes that heart disease contributes to 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year.

“I think death from heart attacks are so preventable,” says Jillian. “If you know symptoms of a heart attack you can be proactive and go to the hospital.”

Over the course of 18 months, Jillian advocated for women’s heart health awareness and helped community members learn more about how to lead heart-healthy lives.

She created a public Gold Award Women’s Heart Health Awareness Facebook page, where she posted daily tips to help group members make heart-healthy decisions. She also hosted a fun workshop for Flower Mound elementary girls to teach them about heart health habits.

Even more significantly, in February of 2017 and 2018, Jillian hosted AED/CPR trainings and First Aid courses that resulted in the certification of nearly 100 individuals. During this time, she was also busy raising funds to purchase a new ZOLL AED Plus and to provide training to four Twin Coves Park employees.

“On behalf of the Parks and Rec Department and the Twin Coves staff, and anyone who goes into the park, we want to thank you for your efforts,” said park manager Mark Long, during his remarks at the March 3 meeting. “It would be my plea to you to become certified in the AED or CPR or basic First Aid. You never know when you’ll need to use it. And while I hope we never have to use it at Twin Coves Park, I know that because of Jillian’s efforts, we’re going to be prepared for that day.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement that a Girl Scout can receive. The award recognizes girls who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and who have identified and completed projects that have a long-lasting and sustainable impact on their local community and beyond. Over the past century, nearly 1 million dedicated and driven girls have made a lasting impact on their communities and beyond. Jillian Rash is a member of Troop 3838, led by Andie Milton.

To learn more about how Cardio Partners can help you serve your community, contact our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

What You Need to Know About Young Athletes, Commotio Cordis, & Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Raising Awareness about SCA and Commotio Cordis in Youth

Many of us assume that the more than 350,000 Americans who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year are elderly or suffer from heart disease or other health conditions. While this is certainly true for many, it’s not true for all. In fact, SCA caused by commotio cordis is far more common on the high school playing field than in the halls of your local senior center.

What is Commotio Cordis?

The American Heart Association defines commotio cordis as “a phenomenon in which a sudden blunt impact to the chest causes sudden death in the absence of cardiac damage.” Although the condition was first described in laborers the mid-1700s, in the last couple of decades, commotio cordis events have occurred primarily in sports.

Today, this type of trauma is most often caused by the impact of a ball, hit, or puck to the chest. When an athlete takes a blow to the area directly over the heart at a critical time during the cycle of a heartbeat, it may cause cardiac arrest.

According to the HeartRescue Project, the risk of SCA is three times greater in competitive athletes. The average age of athletes who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest is just 17 and more than two-thirds of young athletes who die suddenly are basketball and football players. Baseball, softball, hockey, and lacrosse players, however, are especially susceptible to commotio cordis.

Even a seemingly insignificant or minor blow to the chest can cause commotio cordis, so it’s critical that members of the coaching staff, athletes, and parents are all well-informed.

Facts about Commotio Cordis

  • More than 224 cases have been reported to the US Commotio Cordis Registry since 1995. It’s estimated, however, that many more cases have not been reported.
  • Based on the Registry cases of commotio cordis the survival rate was 24%.
  • 95% of cases affected males.
  • Commotio cordis most frequently occurs in those aged between 10 and 18 years.
  • 50% of episodes occur during competitive sports, a further 25% occur during recreational sports, and the other 25% occurs during other activities that involve blunt force trauma to the chest wall.

(Source: Life in the Fast Lane)

Preventing Commotio Cordis and SCA Among Athletes

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent commotio cordis or SCA from occurring. However, by shining a light on the issue, coaches and athletes can reduce the incidence of life-threatening chest trauma and can maximize survival rates by adhering to the following recommendations.

Coach Responsibly

Young athletes should be educated about commotio cordis and should protect themselves and their teammates from taking direct blows to the chest during practice and game time. Coaching staff members should teach techniques that emphasize player safety and encourage players to turn away from the ball to avoid errant pitches, for example.

Consider Using Reduced Impact Balls

These “safety balls” are especially good options for our youngest athletes, who are in the skill-building stages of their development and training. Not only do these balls minimize injuries, but they reduce fear and improve confidence among young players.

Be Alert

If you see an athlete collapse on the field, be proactive! The American Heart Association notes that “resuscitation, once thought to be nearly universally unsuccessful, has now been demonstrated to be successful in up to 35% of commotio cordis victims.”

Learn CPR

Here at Cardio Partners, we believe in the power of CPR. As a team-building exercise, we recommending signing the whole team up for CPR training. Check out our post, 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR, for more information.

Invest in an AED for Your School Gym and Your Fieldhouse

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of AEDs in the Workplace, but parents of athletes and survivors of commotio cordis would argue that the gymnasium and field house is just as important as a public hallway for automatic external defibrillator placement. In most instances, EMTs cannot reasonably be expected to arrive at the scene of a cardiac arrest in less than five minutes. Well-placed public-access AEDs may save the lives of countless young athletes.

Cardio Partners offers CPR, first aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to equip your school’s athletic facilities with an AED, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Finding the Best Location for Your AED

Proper AED Placement

It’s reassuring to note that the United States holds the largest share of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in North America, with nearly 90% of the market, and that the AED market is predicted to grow by 6.8% (BusinessWire). Americans are increasingly aware of the dangers posed by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and understand that AEDs save lives.

What’s less comforting to know is that many AEDs are kept under lock and key or are tucked away in a cluttered, forgotten corner.

According to the American Red Cross, it takes an average of 8-12 minutes for first responders to arrive on the scene after 911 is called. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by approximately 10%. In other words, by the time the ambulance arrives with its cargo of lifesaving EMTs and AEDs, it may already be too late.

Make Your AED Visible

Are you ready? Here’s the number one tip for effective AED placement: make it visible! It may sound obvious, but hiding your valuable AED in a corner or stowing it in an office drawer isn’t going to do anyone any good. While it may be tempting to keep your equipment “out of harm’s way,” it’s far more important to make sure your AEDs are visible and are in good working order.

Keep it Simple

When someone shouts “Where’s the AED!?” You’ll want to be able to respond with a quick, clear direction such as “In the lobby!” or “By the elevator!”

Take Stock of Your AED Inventory

Do you have enough AEDs? Most AED manufacturers recommend that facilities have at least one AED per floor. As you consider your options for the best places to put your AED, make a list of central, high-traffic areas or areas where someone is most likely to go into sudden cardiac arrest (on the office treadmill, for example). If you’re not sure where to place your AEDs, Cardio Partners offers Cardiac Preparedness Consulting Services.

Signage is Your Friend

Don’t  let your aesthetic sense get in the way of common sense. Professional signage, with icons, should clearly mark AED locations and direct users to the device.

Ideally, rescuers should be able to assist the victim of an SCA in less than two minutes! AEDs and directional signs should be located in high visibility areas in public buildings and businesses and at social or athletic events.

Accessibility is Critical

AEDs should be readily accessible to all employees and to the public and should be within reach of wheelchair-bound individuals. Your AED cabinet should be mounted in an unobstructed area, 48 inches above the floor, to ensure that anyone can access it in the event of an emergency. Make sure that your employees can reach and remove the AED with one hand to minimize response time.

Be Strategic About AED Placement

Facilities managers should consider placing AEDs in areas where many people work closely together (such as assembly lines or office buildings), near confined spaces, in areas where electric-powered devices are used, and at outdoor worksites where lightning may strike (Health & Safety Institute).

Checklist: AED Placement Guidelines and Recommendations

  • Make sure that your AEDs are located in a clearly marked, brightly illuminated, and unobstructed location.
  • AEDs should be easy to reach and remove with one hand.
  • According to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) guidelines, the height to reach the handle of an AED should be no more than 48 inches high. The maximum side reach for an unobstructed approach to an AED is 54 inches (CPR Seattle).
  • For maximum efficacy, be sure to train key personnel throughout the building in how to properly use an AED.
  • Regularly inspect your equipment for signs of tampering and to make sure it’s emergency-ready. You may want to consider investing in an AED Compliance Management program or a Preventative Maintenance Program.
  • Consider placing non-latex protective gloves, CPR face masks, scissors, safety razors (to shave the victim’s chest hair, as necessary), absorbent towels, and a first aid kit near your AED.

To learn more about our AED training courses or to purchase an AED, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.