ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – University of Michigan is teaching people how to respond to heart attacks in kids. And while experts say they’re rare, U of M still wants people to be prepared. So, the university will host a forum Thursday night to teach educators, coaches and child health experts how to respond to such emergencies.

The event comes in the wake of a tragedy at a high school on the west side of the state where a 16-year-old died of heart failure after a basketball game last spring.

Sharlene Day is a cardiologist at U of M. She says about 1 in 40,000 kids will have a heart attack every year and that rate of incidence is much higher among certain groups. “Other subsets may be substantially higher, particularly in male athletes, black athletes and basketball players who seem to have a much higher rate of sudden cardiac death,” says Day.

And she adds that every one of those lives is worth saving. “It’s absolutely essential to be prepared for these types of events because despite the best screening practices they’re still going to happen,” says Day.

Guests at the event will be taught CPR and how to use an automated electrical defibrillator. The forum runs from 5:30-7:30pm at Kensington Count Hotel in Ann Arbor. Registration begins at 5pm. For more information, call (734) 232-4170.

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