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Youth Football: Costa Mesa plays it safe

Local Pop Warner youth football program has acquired an automated external defibrillator.

June 12, 2010|By Matt Szabo
(Scott Smeltzer…)

***FOR THE RECORD: Costa Mesa AYSO Region 120 purchased and installed an automated external defibrillator at the Farm Sports Complex in December. The story “Costa Mesa plays it safe” in Saturday’s edition stated Costa Mesa Pop Warner was the first youth sports organization in the city to purchase an AED.***

Steve Mensinger hopes that the Costa Mesa Pop Warner youth football program never has to use it.

The portable automated external defibrillator the Eagles recently bought comes in a box about the size of a lunch box.

It also has the power to save someone's life.

Costa Mesa Pop Warner bought the device in April, spending around $2,000. Coaches will be trained to use it, although its operation appears simple, with an on-off switch and another button used to administer the shock if a player, parent or coach went into cardiac arrest.

The unit gives audio instructions and also can determine if the shock is actually needed.

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Mensinger, the president of Costa Mesa Pop Warner as well as the Estancia Sports Boosters Club, said the device will be at all home practices and games the Eagles play when their season begins in a couple of months.

"Eventually, our goal is to equip every team with one," said Mensinger, whose son Hunter, 11, is in the Pop Warner program.

Jill Stack, the director of publicity for Estancia Sports Boosters, has been pushing for the purchase. She is passionate about the AED and the safety benefits it provides.

One of the causes of cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation. According to figures released by the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Assn., if early defibrillation is provided within the first minute of "VF" cases, the chance is 90% that the victim's life can be saved. After that, the survival rate drops 10% with each minute. If CPR and AEDs are used within five minutes of collapse, as many as 30-50% of victims would likely survive.

"It's definitely a proactive safety thing," Stack said. "It could be used on coaches, parents, people in the stands."

For Mensinger, it's also an issue that hits close to home with his friend who he works with on the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, chairman Jim Righeimer.

Righeimer has a daughter who is a cheerleader for Costa Mesa Pop Warner, and last year he was walking around at Estancia High with a little backpack.

"I said, Jim what are you doing with that?' " Mensinger said. "He goes, 'It's an AED.' I didn't know it was that small."

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