AED Policies

Cardiac emergencies in athletics are one of the top causes of sudden death in sport. There are different reasons for a cardiac emergency, and the most common cause in athletes younger than 35 is an underlying abnormality. This encompasses structural changes in the heart such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and others. In athletics issues like commotio cordis, drug related arrhythmias, underlying coronary artery disease causing myocardial arrhythmias and fatal arrhythmias are also causes of sudden death.

In a cardiac emergency, immediate recognition and activation of the Emergency Action Plan are key components to increasing survival rate. Once the EAP has been activated, early CPR and defibrillation will be the next step in keeping the athlete alive. The Automated External Defibrillator is used when the heart is beating irregularly and needs a shock to facilitate a regular heartbeat. Each minute that the AED administration is delayed, the athlete’s chance of survival decreases by 10%. This means that if it takes 5 minutes to access and administer an AED in a cardiac emergency, the individual’s survival rate has already been decreased by half. These facts are the driving force behind the Korey Stringer Institute’s AED Policy Requirements.

Proper certification and education about AED’s and their use is pertinent to survival in cardiac emergencies. Their locations should be readily known and easily accessible to the people who are trained to administer them.

The standard for state guidelines should comply with both the Korey Stringer Institute and the National Athletic Trainers Association when it comes to handling and administering an AED. Every second is precious in a cardiac emergency, and the staff at the Korey Stringer Institute are willing to help each state in order to work towards instituting the following recommendations.



The Korey Stringer Institute recommends the following guidelines:

  1. School AED programs should be implemented under the supervision of a physician (medical director) and select school staff personnel provided proper training and certification.
  2. AEDs should be placed in easily accessible/public locations with adequate signage.
  3. All athletic trainers, coaches, administrators, school nurses, and physical education teachers should have access to an AED on school property and at all school sanctioned athletic events/activities.
  4. Schools sponsoring athletic events should have an AED on site or access to one within 3 minutes at each athletic venue for practices, games, and other athletic events.
  5.  All coaches and other select staff are provided with training and certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED use.
  6.  The location(s) of AED(s) are well marked, publicized, and known among all staff.
  7.  An AED should be retrieved and applied to any collapsed and unresponsive athlete, while EMS (911) is called and CPR started.
  8.  AEDs are inspected frequently (i.e. according to manufacturer recommendations) to ensure proper working order, making sure the batteries are charged, and wires and pads are in good condition.


If any of this information is incorrect, has changed, or should be updated, please contact KSI.

Terry GC, Kyle JM, Ellis Jr JM. et. al. Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Athletic Medicine. J Athl Train. 2001;36(2):205–209.