On any given Saturday during the fall, as many as 500 players and spectators can be found at Clover Dell Park for a day of youth soccer action.
The health and safety of both the athletes and those in attendance is something that is never far from the minds of the event organizers who recently made a decision to help keep both entities safe.
“We have between 600 to 700 youth who take part in our soccer programs,” Amanda Blackburn, president of the Paul Klover Soccer Association said. “One of our board members felt that we needed to have an AED defibrillator at Clover Dell in case there ever was a medical emergency because someone was suffering a heart attack.
“We’re really excited to announce that we have one now that be easily accessible and is ready for use if we ever need it during all of our games at Clover Dell,” Blackburn added.
Paul Klover Board Member Dr. Joshua Valtos was the first to approach the board with the idea to acquire the AED.
Valtos is a cardiologist with the Missouri Heart Center in Sedalia, who through his line of work recognized the importance of having a portable defibrillator available and a number of individuals who are trained on the use of the equipment.
“One problem we faced at Clover Dell was the ability to take care of a patient who was in cardiac arrest,” Valtos said. “We know that if a patient is down for five to 10 minutes that may be all the time they have.
“Time is definitely the number one factor and because of the geographic location of Clover Dell having this equipment along with someone performing CPR can make a huge difference in saving a person’s life,” he added. “The hope is we will never have to use it but it is something we have at our disposal and if we ever need it hopefully we will have a good outcome.”
Captain Barry White and members of the Sedalia Fire Department were present at the Paul Klover Board Meeting Monday evening to explain the basics of the equipment.
“The devise is not difficult to use,” White told the members. “Really all a person using the devise has to do is make sure the pads are positioned in the right areas of the individual’s chest and then the equipment literally talks the individual through the steps through a recording.
“There are also diagrams that show the person what they need to be doing as well,” he added. “Of course the most important things to do are to remain calm and immediately have someone call 911.”
The portable defibrillator has pads sized for both adults and youth.
“It’s not just the youth we are concerned about,” Valtos said. “We have a lot of grandparents and older friends and relatives who come to support the players and we are mindful of what they may need as well.
“I think a lot of this is awareness,” he added. “There may come a day when we wish we had this equipment, now that wish has been taken care of.”
The Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department purchased the unit, which will be maintained by the City of Sedalia through the Fire Department.
“I know all the Pettis County Sheriff’s Department vehicles are equipped with the units and that they are in every city building but this is one of the first civic organizations that I know of who has acquired one,” White said. “It’s a good thing because they are on the far end of the city limits, hopefully they will never have to use it but it’s good to know it’s here.”
Prior to the start of the season, after Labor Day, all members of the Paul Klover Board will receive training on the use of the defibrillator.
“We are extremely grateful to the Parks Department for providing the equipment for our use,” Valtos said. “It’s nice to have the necessary tools here.
“You can’t build a house without a hammer,” Valtos added. “You can’t save a life without the tools, now we have the tools.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484