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Monticello High School receives donation of AED

Aug. 29, 2016

10 years ago, at the height of his high school basketball career, Mike Papale went into cardiac arrest and nearly lost his life, but was saved by an automated external defibrillator (AED). Papale, now 28, has made it his life’s work to make sure others will have the chance to survive like he did through his charity, In A Heartbeat.

Surrounded by their family and loved ones, Bob Huebner (Class of 1977) and his niece Brooke Huebner (a freshman) presented Monticello High School with an automated external defibrillator (AED) for athletic use on Friday, Aug. 26.

Mr. Huebner is a board member from Papale’s non-profit organization, In A Heartbeat. He is also the man who saved Mr. Papale’s life eleven years ago. The AED unit was donated by the Hueber family in name of Mr. Dan Huebner, a member of the Monticello High School Class of 1978 and baseball and wrestling standout.

AEDs are used when an individual goes into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA,) James Ryan, Director of Health, Physical Education, and Athletics said. SCA is when the heartbeat unexpectedly stops, which is mainly caused by ventricular fibrillation, an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system which stops blood from accessing the brain, heart and body.

With the donation of the AED, Monticello High School will be better equipped to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

“[This donation] has been a long time coming,” Mr. Huebner said. “My mom and I decided years ago that we would purchase this defibrillator and donate it in my brother’s name.”

Mr Huebner’s address was met with wild applause.

“Mr. Papale’s survival from SCA and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a great example of the importance of placing AEDs in all public places, especially schools.” Mr. Ryan said. “Sudden cardiac arrests truly can take place anywhere.”

School districts and coaches can't stress enough the importance of having these life-saving devices handy.

"They should be in every sporting event, every school, every university, turning it on and having the device walk you through the essentials steps to save a life," Mr. Ryan said.

Monticello High School has four AEDs on site, three of which are taken to off campus practices and games.

“All of our coaches, assistant coaches and physical education teachers are trained to operate AEDs,” Mr. Ryan said. “The update their training every two years.”

AEDs are used at sporting events regularly. In Oct. 2015, a referee at Liberty High School collapsed during a junior varsity soccer game. A coach called 911 while another official performed used an AED to save his life.

The Monticello Central School District would like to thank the Huebner family for their extremely generous donation.

In A Heartbeat is meant to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening condition that causes heart muscles to grow too thick. The latter condition, known as HCM, is the most common cause of heart-related sudden death in young athletes and other people under 30 and can often go undetected, according to the charity’s website.