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Training the Next Generation of Lifesavers, One Student at a Time


The following excerpt is from a blog post by American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown and AHA volunteer Tommy Watson, published on The Huffington Post's The Blog on September 3rd.  It is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the American Heart Association addressing important, timely topics in heart health and wellness.  Nancy and featured experts will examine the issues related to heart disease and provide information, ideas and insight on the Huffington Post's The Blog.

Imagine a time when everywhere you go, you are surrounded by people ready to respond if your heart stops.

Lawmakers in 12 states are working toward that day. In hopes of producing future generations of lifesavers, those states have made CPR training -- including the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) -- a requirement for high school graduation. As this school year begins, seven states have laws in place or that go into effect this school year, with five more states having passed laws that will begin in upcoming years.

Vermont was one of the first states on board, thanks largely to the efforts of a boy who wasn't even in high school yet.

Tommy Watson was 12 when he saw a man watching a soccer match go into sudden cardiac arrest and collapse. More than 100 people were around, but only one -- a nurse -- knew CPR. That frustrated Tommy, so a few days later he called his local American Heart Association office and asked to be trained in Hands-Only CPR. Then he began training others. In less than two years, he's up to about 1,025 trainees.

Read Nancy and Tommy's complete Huffington Post blog post- Training the Next Generation of Lifesavers, One Student at a Time.

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