Written by Gary Simeone Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00
It was a heartfelt presentation by Karen Acompora, president of the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation, on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at Herricks Middle School. Karen, Louis’s mother, spoke about the importance of having AEDs, (automatic external defibrillator) in all schools and at sporting events. The foundation was founded in 2000 after the tragic death of her son from sudden cardiac arrest after being struck in the chest by a lacrosse ball during a game at Northport High School where he was a student.
“My job tonight is to spread awareness of the importance of AEDs,” said Acompora. “It is important that people know where these devices are in their schools or workplace and know how to operate them because they are lifesavers.”
She said that since former New York State Governor George Pataki signed ‘Louis’s Law’ in 2002, 76 lives have been saved by the AED device in schools.
“There are still some venues such as Little League fields, town soccer fields and other recreational sports arenas that don’t have AEDs on hand,” Acompora said. “There are also coaches that don’t know how to use and operate these devices or are not trained in CPR.
These are concerns that should be addressed by every parent.”
Acompora added that she is lobbying Congress to pass a law dubbed the “CPR in Schools Bill,” which would require all high school seniors to know how to perform CPR before graduating.
Steve Tannenbaum, a board member of the foundation, said that his life was saved by an AED after suffering a heart attack. The 56-year-old attorney, urged parents to be vigilant about their children’s health and to press doctors about performing the necessary heart screenings.
“As parents you need to be active and involved in your kid’s medical health,” said Tannenbaum. “Most kids don’t show outward signs or symptoms of heart problems and it is something that can be taken care of if addressed early enough.”
Tannenbaum thinks that parents should ask their doctors or pediatricians to perform EKG’s on their children to check for any imbalances in the hearts electrical activity. At the end of the presentation, Acompora and Tannenbaum demonstrated the correct way to use an AED and performed the compression-only hands-on CPR technique.
Christine Griffo of Albertson said that she enjoyed the presentation.
“My husband, who is a postman in Rockville Centre, had told me that a fellow worker had collapsed while on the job,” said Griffo, a cardiac care nurse at Huntington Hospital. “Unfortunately there wasn’t an AED in that particular post office at the time,” she said.
“It is so important to have one of these devices in all of our workplaces and schools.”
The Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation will hold a heart screening at West Islip High School on March 15. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium. It is open to all students aged 12-24 regardless of the school they attend. For more information, go to LA12.org