Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Meghan Kita
It’s not difficult or time-consuming to learn, and it could mean the difference between life and death for a runner (or non-runner) in need.
A few weeks ago, I took a Friday off from work to do some training, but not the marathon variety. Instead, I attended a CPR/First Aid certification course at the local Red Cross.
I had been meaning to go for ages, ever since I saw a runner collapse in the postrace area of a marathon a few years ago. He was okay, thanks at least in part to CPR. (Prompt CPR also helped to save a coworker’s husband who collapsed on a run.) I had learned CPR way back in middle school, but that was more than 15 years ago. I was due for a refresher course.
The most important thing I learned: If someone is not breathing, doing something CPR-wise is always better than doing nothing. Once you or someone else has called 911, start chest compressions. Don’t worry that you’ve never done them on a real person before. Don’t worry that you won’t do them perfectly. Do your best, and do it now, because with every minute of inaction, the risk of lasting damage or death increases.
At first I titled this post “All Runners Should Know CPR,” but it really goes beyond that. While exercise can trigger a heart attack, so can chronic unhealthy behaviors. Everyone—runners and non-runners—should learn CPR, so whether a person collapses at a race or a grocery store or a bar, someone nearby can do something to help, quickly.
I still don’t know how I would react in a situation where someone needed CPR. It’s a skill I hope to never need to use. But I feel more confident now than I did before I took the class that I wouldn’t let my fear paralyze me.
To find a Red Cross CPR class near you, click here.