This new campaign for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the leading cause of death among young athletes, debuted online last month. Now, the Medtronic Foundation is launching a televised version of Rubio’s "save a life" training video.
The Medtronic Foundation sent the commercial out to more than 30 stations and cable networks across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain, Rubio’s native country. The PSA will also air at a home Timberwolves games.
"The object with Ricky is to get the word out to young athletes," said Joan Mellor, senior program manager at the Medtronic Foundation. "We also want to get the word out to Spanish-speaking communities, which have lower rates of bystander CPR."
The goal of The Heart Rescue Foundation is to train bystanders in how to react when they witness someone collapse from SCA. The foundation aims to increase rates of CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use by bystanders, even before medical help arrives.
AEDs are external defibrillators with simple voice prompts that have been designed to only shock a collapsed person if abnormal heart rhythm is detected. SCA is a serious heart failure that can kill even young healthy athletes within minutes unless chest compressions and defibrillation are provided.
"You can triple survival rates if AEDs are used, but studies show that the public doesn’t use them in cardiac arrest cases," Mellor said. "The public needs to know that they should use AEDs if available."
Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves joined the campaign last month and have contributed to substantial website traffic. On the website, users control "pick-your-own-adventure" video segments that feature Rubio witnessing a collapsed athlete and choosing what to do next (for example, users choose to "see if he’s okay," or "keep working out"). According to the Heart Rescue Project’s website, these virtual Save-a-Life Simulators have taught 5.5 million people how to re-start a heart.
The Heart Rescue Project has 1 other simulation called "Save a Life at the Mall," which was launched before Rubio joined on. The foundation has no current plans to launch more simulations, and is instead focusing on outreach to young athletes with Rubio’s "Save a Life at the Gym" simulation.