Darton feels ASU's pain for Blanding's death - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Darton feels ASU's pain for Blanding's death

August 11, 2003

Albany - An enlarged heart likely caused the death of an Albany State football player last week. 26 year-old Jackie Blanding, of Riverdale, died after collapsing during a pre-practice run last Thursday.

His teammates put him in the back of a pickup truck and called an ambulance. No one performed CPR on Blanding and the school wouldn't say if any players or coaches know CPR. We did find out that the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, of which Albany State is a member, does not require the staff to know CPR. The team started practicing again Saturday and is dedicating the upcoming football season to Blanding.

The death of that ASU athlete brought back memories for Darton College. In 1996, Darton baseball player Marcus Baker, collapsed and died of cardiac arrest at the first practice of the season. The tragedy lead Darton's athletic staff to learn life saving procedures.

Two years ago, Darton College added a lifesaver to its athletic staff - a defibrillator. "I think we'll see more and more schools getting defibrillators because they can save a life," said Athletic Director Nancy Abraham.

Abraham hopes the defibrillator, which can restart a stopped heart, will never be used. But, she's not taking any chances. All 7 members of her athletic staff are certified in defibrillator operation and CPR. "CPR and the defibrillator may not save a life, but we are prepared in the case of a health emergency."

CPR didn't revive Baker in 1996, and may not have saved ASU's Jackie Blanding. But, Abraham says next time it may save a young athlete's life. "ASU has my sympathy. We know what they're going through right now. It's horrible to tell a parent their child is dead."

A certified trainer also comes to most athletic practices and games at Darton to handle any health emergency. Abraham also says the defibrillator could also be used on spectators who suffer heart attacks while watching games.

Posted at 5:20PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com