Roseville Family Warns of Sudden Cardiac Death in Teens

Updated: 07/29/2013 7:21 AM By: Jessica Miles

Carter Geyen
Carter Geyen

A Roseville family who lost their 12-year-old son suddenly almost three years ago is urging the public to get informed about commotio cordis before school sports begin this fall.

Carter Geyen was with a friend at a park near his home Aug. 1, 2010. The boys were playing with a slingshot.

A rock they shot from the slingshot came back down and hit Carter right in the heart and sent him into cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the hospital but died.

Commotio cordis is a rare condition that experts say typically affects the young, those under the age of 25, with the peak age being 13.

It is most commonly heard about in sports like baseball, hockey and lacrosse. US Lacrosse has taken the initiative to get Automatic External Defibrillators, or AEDs, to teams at a reduced cost.

They normally sell for about $1,600, but lacrosse teams or associations can apply and get them for $700.

Dr. Barry Maron does research for the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation; he's also one of the world's leading experts when it comes to commotio cordis.

He says most people have never heard about this risk, whether it is sports or everyday living, but it is real and it is a relatively newly-recognized cause of sudden death.

He says two decades ago the survivability rate for commotio cordis was only 15 percent. Now, it's 55 percent thanks to education and availability of AEDs.

Click here for more information on the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.

Click here for more information about the AED program through US Lacrosse.