'Anyone Can Save a Life' Aims to Prepare

July 28, 2015

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

It was 2008 when Jody Redman and staff at the Minnesota State High School League developed an emergency action plan to provide guidance and procedure in the event of sudden cardiac arrest during scholastic athletic competition.

The desired response from schools upon receipt of the plan was, well, less than enthusiastic.

“Only about 40 percent of our schools used the information and implemented the program,” said Redman, associate director for the MSHSL. “Our focus was completely on sudden cardiac arrest, that being the worst-case scenario regarding athletic-related health issues.”

The MSHSL asked the University of Minnesota to survey its member schools, and results showed that the majority of schools not on board simply felt a sudden cardiac arrest “would never happen at their school.” Naive or not on the schools’ parts, that was the reality – so Redman went back to revise the playbook.

“We expanded the plan to deal with all emergencies, rather than specific incidents,” Redman said. “Now it’s evolved so that we are prepared to deal with a variety of situations which put participants at risk. We shifted gears and got more schools to participate.”

Did they ever. And not just in Minnesota.

This summer, the “Anyone Can Save a Life” program, authored by the MSHSL and the Medtronic Foundation, is being disseminated to high schools nationwide with the financial support of the NFHS Foundation. The program will reach schools in time for the 2015-16 school year.

Once received, schools will find that there are two options for implementation, via in-person training or online.

“The in-person method is facilitated by the athletic administrator with the assistance of a training DVD” Redman said. “The important element is the follow through, ensuring coaches return their completed Emergency Action Plan (EAP). With the e-learning module on anyonecansavealife.org, individuals will complete an e-learning module that will walk them through the details of their specific plan, and as they answer questions, the information will automatically generate a PDF of the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) which they can edit at a later date as information changes.”

Schools will find five major components of the program to be received this summer: the first is an implementation checklist for the AD, explaining their role. Next are sections for in-person training, online training and event staff training. The last item contains a variety of resources that will ensure the successful implementation of a comprehensive emergency response to all emergencies. 

Generally speaking, the program prompts schools to assemble preparedness teams, broken into four categories: a 911 team, a CPR team, an AED team and a HEAT STROKE team. The groups are made up of coaches and their students who will be in close proximity to all after-school activities.

“The reality about school sports is, at 3:30 every day the office closes and any type of medical support ceases to exist,” Redman said. “We then send thousands of students out to gyms, courts, fields and rinks to participate without systemic support for emergencies. This program puts into place that systemic support.”

Another stark reality is that the majority of schools in any state do not have full-time athletic trainers. Even for those fortunate enough to employ such personnel, it’s most likely the training “staff” consists of one person. That one body can only be in one place at one time, and on widespread school campuses the time it takes to get from one venue to another could be the difference between life and death.

“Athletic trainers can champion the program, but someone needs to oversee that every coach has a completed EAP in place,” Redman said. “For every minute that goes by when a cardiac arrest occurs, chance for survival decreases by 10 percent.”

Thus, it’s imperative to train and grant responsibility to as many people as possible, including student-athletes. In fact, students are a vital component to having a successful EAP. Students will be put in position to call 911, to meet the ambulance at a pre-determined access point, to locate the nearest AED, to make sure emersion tubs are filled for hot-weather practices, and for those who are trained, to assist with CPR.  Coaches will identify students at the beginning of the season and prior to an emergency taking place.  They will provide them with the details of the job they are assigned so they will be ready to assist in the event of an emergency. 

“We have game plans for every sport, and for every opponent on our schedule,” Redman said. “But we don’t have a plan to save the life of a member of our team or someone attending a game at our school.

“This is about developing a quick and coordinated response to every emergency so we give someone in trouble a chance at survival, and then practicing it once or twice a season. We have ‘drop the dummy’ drills where we drop a dummy and evaluate how it went, and how everyone performed. In one scenario, it’s the coach that goes down, and then you have a group of 15- or 16-year-olds standing there. That’s why students have to take ownership of this, too.”

The key to an effective emergency action plan is to utilize and empower students in every sport and at every level to be a part of the response team. Following are brief descriptions of the teams.

The 911 Team 

  • Two students will call 911 from a pre-determined phone and provide the dispatcher with the location and details of the emergency.

  • Two students will meet the ambulance at a pre-determined access point and take them to the victim.

  • Two students will call the athletic trainer, if one is available, and the athletic administrator and alert them to the emergency.

The CPR Team

  • The coach is the lead responder on this team and is responsible for attending to the victim and administering CPR, if necessary, until trained medical personnel arrive.

  • One person is capable of providing effective CPR for approximately two minutes before the quality begins to diminish. Having several students trained and ready to administer CPR will save lives.

The AED Team

  • Two students will retrieve the AED and take it to the victim.

  • Two students will physically locate the athletic trainer, if one is available, and take him or her to the victim.

The Heat Stroke Team

  • Two students identify locations of emersion tub, water source, ice source and ice towels.

  • Two students prepare tub daily for practices and events.

For more information, visit anyonecansavealife.org or contact the MSHSL.

2023 Forsythe Award Celebrates Leinaar's 40 Years Dedicated to School Sports

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 8, 2023

Few people in Michigan have had a longer-lasting influence on the rules and policies of educational athletics than Frankfort’s Karen Leinaar, who has served in several roles locally, statewide and nationally over more than 40 years contributing to the school sports community.

Thank you, Bill Baker.

The longtime teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during a career that stretched across multiple schools – including Leinaar’s growing up, Delton Kellogg – made an impression on the standout multi-sport athlete before she graduated from high school in 1977. Baker’s philosophy and work led Leinaar to study education at Michigan State University and then brought her back as Delton’s athletic director to begin four decades of making the same impact on children in her hometown and eventually in hometowns all over Michigan and beyond.

Baker died in 2009, but not before continuing to mentor Leinaar through many good times and tough ones.

“The man had two daughters that I grew up with, his wife was a teacher, and he demonstrated to all of us – he never missed an event – that we were important to him. That even though we weren’t his kids, we were his kids and athletics was a way to help kids become better people – and for some kids it was the only thing that they had positive in their life,” Leinaar said. “And he made it known just to that individual kid how important their participation was and their involvement, and how that helped them become the person that they were.

“That to me was such an example of how to help people be good people, that I just took that role on.”

It’s a role in which she continues to serve. Leinaar began her career as an athletic administrator in 1982, and as the interim athletic director currently at Frankfort High School is serving her fifth district in that position. Since June 2019, she also has served as executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional organization for school sports administrators in the state with a membership of nearly 700.

Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998. To recognize that longtime and continuing impact, Leinaar has been named the 2023 honoree for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Charles E. Forsythe Award.

The annual award is in its 46th year and named after former MHSAA Executive Director Charles E. Forsythe, the Association's first full-time and longest-serving chief executive. Forsythe Award recipients are selected each year by the MHSAA Representative Council, based on an individual's outstanding contributions to the interscholastic athletics community.

Leinaar also served 22 years on the MHSAA’s Representative Council and a four-year term from 2009-13 on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and just last week was named to the 2023 class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Hall of Fame.

“It is impossible even to estimate the number of students, coaches, administrators and others who have been affected by the work Karen Leinaar has done to make school sports the best they can be – not only in her communities, but across Michigan and throughout the country,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are few who have equaled her dedication and her support and promotion of the ideals of school-based sports. She has always placed an emphasis on being in the room, on the field or at the arena, actively participating in her leadership roles, and our programs are better for it.”

Leinaar first served as athletic director at Delton Kellogg for nearly 17 years, from March 1982 through October 1998. She spent three years at Gaylord, then 8½ at Benzie Central before taking over at Bear Lake in November 2010 and spending the next decade organizing athletic programs for students in grades 5-12 before retiring in January 2021. She came out of retirement to return to the athletic director’s chair this past fall as interim AD at Frankfort. She has completed nearly four years as MIAAA executive director, moving into that position after previously serving nine years as an assistant to the executive.

Leinaar began her service on the Representative Council in Fall 1999 and completed her last term as a statewide at-large representative at the Fall 2021 meeting.

She has been honored several times for her contributions. She received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998, a Citation from the NFHS in 2000, and she was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. She received an MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award in 2014 – recognition given for work done generally behind the scenes and with little attention.

“This is the top of the mountain, per se. This one does mean so much,” Leinaar said of the Forsythe Award. “The names that are associated with this over the years, I never thought I’d be put in that group.”

Leinaar remains a continuous source of support at a multitude of MHSAA championship events, and during her time on Council was one of the most frequent representatives handing out trophies and medals to champions and runners-up at Finals events. She began while athletic director at Delton Kellogg hosting the MHSAA Volleyball Finals in Class B and Class C and continues to assist with those championships now played at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

She also hosted Competitive Cheer Finals at Delton Kellogg in 1996 and 1997, Ski Finals while at Gaylord, and many more championship events across the Lower Peninsula. She continues to assist at the MHSAA’s Lower Peninsula Cross Country and Track & Field Finals.

After attending Delton Kellogg High School, Leinaar earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and recreation, with a minor in driver education, from MSU in 1982. She completed a master’s in athletic administration from Western Michigan University in 1994.

Leinaar has been a member for 40 years of both the MIAAA and NIAAA, and has served as chairperson of the MIAAA Annual Conference and awards chairperson for both the state and national bodies. She’s also served as chairperson of the MIAAA’s Exemplary Athletic Program.

Past recipients of the Charles E. Forsythe Award 

1978 - Brick Fowler, Port Huron; Paul Smarks, Warren 
1979 - Earl Messner, Reed City; Howard Beatty, Saginaw 
1980 - Max Carey, Freesoil 
1981 - Steven Sluka, Grand Haven; Samuel Madden, Detroit
1982 - Ernest Buckholz, Mt. Clemens; T. Arthur Treloar, Petoskey
1983 - Leroy Dues, Detroit; Richard Maher, Sturgis 
1984 - William Hart, Marquette; Donald Stamats, Caro
1985 - John Cotton, Farmington; Robert James, Warren 
1986 - William Robinson, Detroit; Irving Soderland, Norway 
1987 - Jack Streidl, Plainwell; Wayne Hellenga, Decatur 
1988 - Jack Johnson, Dearborn; Alan Williams, North Adams
1989 - Walter Bazylewicz, Berkley; Dennis Kiley, Jackson 
1990 - Webster Morrison, Pickford; Herbert Quade, Benton Harbor 
1991 - Clifford Buckmaster, Petoskey; Donald Domke, Northville 
1992 - William Maskill, Kalamazoo; Thomas G. McShannock, Muskegon 
1993 - Roy A. Allen Jr., Detroit; John Duncan, Cedarville 
1994 - Kermit Ambrose, Royal Oak 
1995 - Bob Perry, Lowell 
1996 - Charles H. Jones, Royal Oak 
1997 - Michael A. Foster, Richland; Robert G. Grimes, Battle Creek 
1998 - Lofton C. Greene, River Rouge; Joseph J. Todey, Essexville 
1999 - Bernie Larson, Battle Creek 
2000 - Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo; Jerry Cvengros, Escanaba 
2001 - Norm Johnson, Bangor; George Lovich, Canton 
2002 - John Fundukian, Novi 
2003 - Ken Semelsberger, Port Huron
2004 - Marco Marcet, Frankenmuth
2005 - Jim Feldkamp, Troy
2006 - Dan McShannock, Midland; Dail Prucka, Monroe
2007 - Keith Eldred, Williamston; Tom Hickman, Spring Lake
2008 - Jamie Gent, Haslett; William Newkirk, Sanford Meridian
2009 - Paul Ellinger, Cheboygan
2010 - Rudy Godefroidt, Hemlock; Mike Boyd, Waterford
2011 - Eric C. Federico, Trenton
2012 - Bill Mick, Midland
2013 - Jim Gilmore, Tecumseh; Dave Hutton, Grandville
2014 - Dan Flynn, Escanaba

2015 - Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2016 - Gary Hice, Petoskey; Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2017 - Chuck Nurek, Rochester Hills
2018 - Gary Ellis, Allegan
2019 - Jim Derocher, Negaunee; Fredrick J. Smith, Stevensville
2020 - Michael Garvey, Lawton
2021 - Leroy Hackley Jr., Byron Center; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2022 - Bruce Horsch, Houghton

PHOTOS (Top) Karen Leinaar, left, awards the 2022 Division 4 volleyball finalist trophy to Indian River Inland Lakes coach Nicole Moore. (Middle) Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998.