Simon's Fund makes racing safer for runners
Runners of all caliber (and walkers, too) are invited to participate in Simon’s Fund’s inaugural Simon Says Run: a 5K for Kids’ Hearts, on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Victory Fields at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, 230 Flourtown Road in Plymouth Meeting.
The event memorializes Simon Sudman and raises money to protect children from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Simon Sudman was a seemingly healthy 3-month old when he died in his sleep of SCA in 2005. On Oct. 27, six days after Simon would have turned 9, the public is invited to run for Simon.
Race day includes a 5K-competitive run and a one-mile family fun run/walk.
It also includes the Chain of Survival Relay where students from competing schools are required to complete lifesaving tasks associated with SCA. According to the American Heart Association, a strong chain of survival — defined as early access to CPR and defibrillation — increases chances of survival from between two and eight percent to 49 percent, notes press information.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading killer of student athletes and the cause of 15 percent of SIDS cases, information continues.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, SCA kills more than 2,000 children in the U.S. each year.
More than 80 percent of the conditions which cause SCA can be detected with an electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG); however, heart screenings are still not a standard of care for children in the U.S.
“We regularly screen our kids’ eyes and ears. We are not allowed to leave the hospital without a car seat, and get regular reminders from the pediatrician of the importance of wearing sunscreen. Yet no one talks to parents about the risk and warning signs of SCA, which is almost always fatal,” said Darren Sudman, co-founder and executive director of Simon’s Fund, and Simon’s dad.
Press information points out that in 2011, the Philadelphia Marathon was tainted by two SCA deaths near the finish line: 21-year old University of Pennsylvania senior Jeffrey Lee and a 40-year-old man who was not identified.
While the incidence of SCA during a race is relatively low — estimates vary from one in 50,000 to one in 200,000 in marathons (no figures are available for 5Ks) — its average survival rate at marathons is 42 percent.
The majority of races, including Simons Says Run, are USATF certified, which refers to logistical issues.
There are no national or international safety standards … yet.
Dr. George Chiampas, Medical Director of the Chicago Marathon and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and his peers at the International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM), are developing best practices for races in the hope of creating an IIRM sanction that will be as common as USATF certification.
Chiampas has studied 10 million runners over 10 years and determined that the number one variable in increased survival is bystander response -- someone starting CPR. Some marathons, including Chicago and Boston, have begun teaching all volunteers and runners CPR.
Press information adds, Simon’s Fund is going beyond these best practices to ensure its event fulfills the organization’s mission by working with CardioReady, a Conshohocken-based company which uses a patented process to offer turnkey Cardiac Emergency Response Programs.
To ensure the ability to respond to a cardiac emergency in three minutes or less, seven easily identifiable, CPR/AED trained responders will be stationed throughout the race course.
Responders will use HeartSine Samaritan lightweight, outdoor AEDs, which have the highest IP (ingress protection) rating for protection against dust and water penetration. Research shows that employing an AED within the first three minutes of an SCA strike can increase the rate of survival from less than eight percent to over 70 percent.
“Our mission is to reduce deaths from sudden cardiac arrest through screenings, education and advocacy. Incorporating best practices for race day goes hand in hand with our mission, and establishes a safe and healthy race environment,” says Simon’s Fund Chief Medical Officer David Shipon, M.D., FACC, a Preventive Cardiologist at Jefferson University Hospital and CEO of the Athlete Health Organization.
On-site race registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The 5K starts at 9; the Family Walk/Run at 9:20; and the Chain of Survival Relay, at 10 a.m.
To register for the race, visit http://www.simonsfund.org/simon-says-run/.
High school teams interested in the Chain of Survival Relay should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simon’s Fund was instrumental in the passage of the first legislation in the country to protect student athletes from sudden cardiac arrest, Pennsylvania’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act.
Illinois just became the second state to pass the law, and six other states have introduced similar legislation.
Since 2005, Simon’s Fund has screened more than 6,000 children’s hearts for conditions which cause sudden cardiac arrest, detecting conditions in one percent of those children screened.
For more information, visit www.simonsfund.org.