Today, the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans announced the teams are donating automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) and Jefferson Parish Recreation Department (JPRD).
“In light of the horrible events involving Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, we felt it was urgent that we reach out to our local recreational facilities to determine their needs,” said Gayle Benson. “NFL games have the most advanced medical staff and equipment on hand and we believe this needs to be replicated as best as possible on the youth sports level.”
40 NORD facilities and 27 JPRD facilities will receive AEDs, including 35 parks, three baseball fields, and two football facilities. Additionally, both NORD and JPRD will conduct training sessions for all staff members to familiarize themselves with equipment use.
“The Saints reached out today wanting to discuss with us what our urgent medical needs included relative to our youth facilities,” said Larry Barabino, chief executive officer of NORD. “We shared our plan with them and explained where we needed the help. We are very grateful to Mrs. Benson and the entire organization. Putting 40 AED’s around NORD facilities will give our families and our children comfort knowing we can be ready in case of an emergency.”
“JPRD has a wonderful working relationship with the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans and this gesture is one that is so very critical and needed. It will save lives,” said Mario Bazile, director of JPRD. “We are saddened but encouraged of the news of Damar Hamlin and it is through tragic events like this that we are can learn. I know I can speak for all of our families in Jefferson Parish and say thank you to Mrs. Benson and the entire organization.”
Benson added, “Hearing the news of Damar’s improvement from his doctors today was very heartening. Our prayers continue for him and his recovery, for his family and teammates and the doctors that are giving him such great care.”