November 21, 2023

Youth sudden cardiac arrest survivors, parents who’ve lost kids: Share your story with us.

An automated external defibrillator guides users step by step, and provides written instructions for those who are hard of hearing, and verbal commands in different languages. - (Elizabeth Gabriel/WFYI News)

An automated external defibrillator guides users step by step, and provides written instructions for those who are hard of hearing, and verbal commands in different languages.

(Elizabeth Gabriel/WFYI News)

Millions watched in shock when they saw the Buffalo Bill’s Damar Hamlin go into sudden cardiac arrest on live television earlier this year during an NFL game. It’s since sparked more advocacy around sudden cardiac arrest, automated external defibrillators and CPR. But sudden cardiac arrest also happens to youth in the community. The vast majority of young people who go into sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, die

WFYI is working on a series of stories that will investigate which Indiana school districts and first responders are equipped to save cardiac arrest victims, and whether these resources vary based on the rural/ urban divide, economic and racial makeup of these communities. 

Which schools are more likely to have AEDs – one of the main ways to prevent a cardiac arrest death? If heart screenings can detect heart defects, which can potentially lead to sudden cardiac arrest, why aren’t heart screenings mandatory for student physicals? 

These are some of the questions WFYI hopes to seek answers to in this series. But we need your help. Sharing your stories helps people understand what’s at stake, and allows these articles to make a bigger impact in the community. Let us know about your experience with sudden cardiac arrest and what you want to know about responding to sudden cardiac arrest by filling out this form.

WFYI’s reporting on SCA 

WFYI health reporter Elizabeth Gabriel started looking into this topic after the death of a 15-year-old her friend volunteered with. She’s since written a feature story on the difficulties of mandating AEDs in schools. Now Gabriel wants to spread more awareness about sudden cardiac arrest, in youth and adults, and how to respond to it. 

Have a tip or a story idea about youth sudden cardiac arrest? Email egabriel@wfyi.org or fill out this form.

Contact WFYI’s health reporter Elizabeth Gabriel at

Gabriel’s reporting on sudden cardiac arrest is supported by a grant from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 Data Fellowship.

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