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Cassadaga discusses AED availability for youth baseball program

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Cassadaga Village Trustee Danna DuBois, a member of the Cassadaga Fire Department, offered several resources for CPR/AED certification classes to B.J. Monacelli, who spoke on behalf of the Cassadaga youth baseball program at a recent meeting of the Village Board.

CASSADAGA — After the life threatening injury to Damar Hamlin in a football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, 2023, the importance of having an automated external defibrillator at sporting events garnered nationwide attention.

This past November, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation requiring youth sports programs and camps to establish automated external defibrillator (AED) implementation plans, with at least one person trained to properly use the AED at all camps, events, and practices. With Little League around the corner, many coaches and organizers have questions regarding their own organizations. At the latest Cassadaga Village Board meeting, B.J. Monacelli raised the issue pertaining to the Cassadaga youth baseball program.

Cassadaga currently has more than 70 youths participating in its youth baseball program, which is three times more than the participation two years ago. The program runs from early April through the month of June.

Monacelli is in the process of receiving AED/CPR certification. Village Trustee Danna DuBois, a member of the Cassadaga Fire Department, offered several resources for CPR/AED certification classes. The Fire Department is also seeking additional AEDs and is pursuing grant funding to do so. DuBois will look into grant funding options for youth sports and recreational activities to purchase an AED, as well.

Monacelli asked the Village Board if it discussed acquiring an AED for the ballpark or if the baseball program would be responsible with covering the cost itself.

AEDs are not cheap. Village Trustee Cindy Flaherty submitted a grant request for an AED with a wall mounted storage cabinet to be placed in the Community Room. The quote she received for the unit was $2,142.59.

Flaherty suggested the baseball program and the beach program could share the AED the Village currently owns, as the two programs do not overlap. The other members of the Board felt that was an amicable solution, but noted that with several teams playing at once, it could become difficult to manage with just one unit. Flaherty and Monacelli will continue to discuss coordination.

Medical professionals saved Hamlin’s life after suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. At the time of Hochul’s legislation taking effect, Hamlin spoke to the importance of having an AED present at sporting events.

Hamlin said, “Growing up, in all the years that I played football, I don’t remember thinking about where an AED was located or who was trained to use one. I think that many people have had the same experience. My journey has shown us that no one expects cardiac arrest to happen – and we all need to be prepared. By requiring that at least one person is trained to properly use an AED at every sports event, camp and practice, this new law will help protect tens of thousands of kids in New York State – and is a really important step in saving lives.”

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