Gaming and basketball take on SCA during American Heart Month

Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio teams up with Medtronic Foundation

February is American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. About 715,000 Americans experience a heart attack each year. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States annually, representing one out of every four deaths.1

It'll take the combined, sustained efforts of many individuals and organizations to reduce the toll heart disease takes on the public. One such initiative is an online resuscitation 'game' created by the Medtronic Foundation and available through its HeartRescue Project. The Save-a-life Simulator uses a first person viewpoint to demonstrate the chain of survival in an interactive format.

The most current chapter of the virtual resuscitation simulator features Minnesota Timberwolves basketball star Ricky Rubio. In the "choose your own adventure" style videos, Rubio helps guide visitors through a series of critical choices, starting with an initial decision to help the victim or ignore the situation and keep working out. 

The involvement of a prominent sports figure points to the issue of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in young athletes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000 Americans under the age of 25 die of SCA annually, and the risk of SCA is three times greater in competitive athletes.2

The online experience promotes proper and timely bystander response to SCA, using hands-only CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED). The hope is that Rubio's involvement will draw attention to the prevalence of SCA and its effect among young athletes, as well as provide a quick and basic technique for saving the life of an SCA victim.

"Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even healthy athletes," says Rubio. "Knowing how to quickly respond to this kind of crisis can help save someone's life including a teammate or friend of yours."

Check out the Save-a-Life-Simulator at and see how this innovative program can help train your community to better respond to these critical emergencies.


  1. Centers for Disease Control. February is American Heart Month. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Section on cardiology and cardiac surgery. Pediatrics peds.2012-0144; published ahead of print March 26, 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013.

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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