NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Thursday, Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson announced the franchise investment in youth sports by donating defibrillators to New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Recreation Departments.

NORD recreation centers and swimming pools are already equipped with AEDs but CEO Larry Barabino said he is grateful to have the expansion for their playgrounds and practices.

In Jefferson Parish, AEDs have already needed to be used at two parks.

“At the baseball field at Pontiff Playground, someone needed attention with a heart attack,” Parish Councilman-at-Large Scott Walker said. “CPR and an AED device were used. We had to run into the gym and get it, but if the gym had been locked, it would have been a different story.”

Ochsner Health Pediatric Electrophysiologist Dr. Walter Hoyt said these extra seconds are crucial.

“Both very quick recognition of that emergency and initiation of CPR, and being able to apply that AED as quickly as possible is directly proportionate to someone doing well after that event,” Dr. Hoyt said.

Football fans across the country watched that quick response from first responders at the Buffalo Bills game at Cincinnati Monday.

John Curtis Christian School Headmaster and head football coach JT Curtis said, the first thing he did was meet with his trainers.

“I knew we had the equipment, but I wanted to make sure,” Curtis said. “They assured me not only do we have AEDs on the sideline but they have been trained to use them properly. They had several coaches also geared to help them in case of an emergency.”

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