Westside, Windsor elementary become first-in-state Project ADAM heart-safe schools

Published 4:11 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023

Westside and Windsor elementary schools on April 20 became the first in the state to earn the “Project ADAM” designation as “heart-safe” schools.

Project ADAM, an acronym for Automated Defibrillation in Adam’s Memory, was created in memory of Wisconsin teenager Adam Level, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest and died while playing basketball in 1999. 

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and automatically deliver an electrical shock when necessary to restore normal rhythm.

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Project ADAM, a nationwide nonprofit, sets 14 preparedness criteria for school staff to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest on school grounds, including having on-site AEDs and CPR/AED certified team members.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, which granted Westside and Windsor their Project ADAM designations, is the first and at present only Project ADAM affiliate in Virginia.

“When you consider that 20% of a community is in its schools most days — during educational time, sports and other extracurricular activities — many lives can be saved through access to AEDs and proper education and practice to address sudden cardiac arrest,” said Dr. John Phillips, Project ADAM medical director at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond. “Westside and Windsor Elementary Schools have paved the way as the first schools in the state of Virginia to earn the designation of Project ADAM heart safe schools. This accomplishment signifies Isle of Wight County Schools’ commitment not only to the health and safety of their students and team members, but their community as a whole.”