Safer Sidelines

Protections for high school athletes are being ignored. Kids are dying as a result.

Sudden death in high school sports is not a rare occurrence. It happens multiple times across the nation every year. And sudden cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death in high school athletes, happens once every three days during the school year.

We wish to recognize the efforts of Stephanie Kuzydym — an outstanding journalist and advocate for youth athlete safety — and her colleagues at the Louisville Courier JournalSafer Sidelines is a monthslong investigation that takes an in-depth look at sudden death in youth sports and the struggle to assure every athlete has a fighting chance when the worst happens.

The Courier Journal found that:

  • Most states and thousands of high schools don’t have “gold standard” policies in place to protect young athletes.
  • The cost of life-saving equipment, often used as a reason not to implement safeguards, is a tiny fraction of what schools spend on athletics.
  • Legislation meant to fix the problem has been routinely defeated or watered down.
  • Policies and laws that are in place have little enforcement and are often ignored.

Foundations are working to provide AEDs and more for sideline safety. Here's how to help.

The private organizations – many of them honoring fallen athletes – are assisting schools directly, but donations haven’t been keeping up with demand.

Student Athlete Deaths 2015-2024 (as of March 2024)