Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the sudden unexpected loss of heart function, loss of breathing and loss of consciousness. Death occurs soon after, without intervention. SCA is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm (like ventricular fibrillation), frequently without the victim even knowing there is a problem.
SCA is NOT a heart attack. A heart attack can be likened to a plumbing problem, where a blood vessel is blocked, preventing flow of blood to heart muscle. However, a heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest. SCA, on the other hand, is an electrical disturbance of the heart, causing it to beat rapidly or just to quiver. It is possible to prevent death from SCA by quickly initiating the Cardiac Chain of Survival, namely, by promptly calling 911, performing effective CPR, using a defibrillator or AED to shock the heart back to a normal rhythm, and getting early advanced care. More and more, controlled hypothermia is also being employed.
The Larry Pontbriant Athletic Safety Fund was formed shortly after Larry’s death from cardiac arrest in 2007. The Fund’s purpose has been to promote awareness that Sudden Cardiac Arrest can occur without warning to anyone, anytime, anywhere, even to well-conditioned athletes. The time-frame between onset of cardiac arrest and the beginning of brain damage due to lack of oxygen is measured in precious minutes. Consequently, Larry’s Fund stresses the need for on-site AEDs and contributions to this fund are used to purchase on-site AEDs for schools and athletic fields and to encourage training in CPR and the use of AEDs.
The Larry Pontbriant Athletic Safety Fund is one of a variety of charitable funds partnered with the non-profit Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (www.cfect.org), serving 42 towns in Eastern Connecticut, the largest community foundation in the state. There are 18 community foundations in the state of Connecticut and more than 700 nationwide. Thanks to the contributions of our generous donors and community businesses and organizations as well as fundraisers like the Annual Larry Pontbriant Memorial Run and Tennis Tournament, the Larry Pontbriant Athletic Safety Fund has placed 86 AEDs so far.