HISD Defibrillators

Going into the hottest part of the summer, with football season just weeks away, Houston School District officials say football coaches are working harder than ever to keep their student-athletes healthy and safe. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Athletes practicing and running in the heat and lack of access to portable defibrillators became an issue last year, after a Katy athlete collapsed and died while running track. He might have survived if a defibrillator had been handy. Since then, many school districts, including HISD, have placed defibrillators at every school, including several at high schools and athletic facilities. HISD Athletic Director Daryl Wade says there's at least one defibrillator at the ready at every summer football practice.

"That's correct. Whenever we have an athletic event going on we're going to have them there. Because you just never know. I mean it's a silent killer, and that's why you have to have them there"

Wade reminds parents they're responsible for making sure their childrens' physical examinations are up to date.

"Your body's just not used to that heat. Of course it's the same with all our sports, including volleyball, we need to get our kids ready for the heat, and I think that's the main thing, making parents aware."

Since last year, HISD has spent nearly $283,000 to buy more than 200 defibrillators and train school employees on how to use them. Another 300 units were donated. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.