The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League announced today the donation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to every public high school in Florida’s Hillsborough County and Pinellas County to support the health and safety of local student-athletes.
The donation is a Super Bowl LV legacy gift to Tampa Bay high schools and reemphasizes a focus on ensuring the health of students participating in all sports, including football.
“Providing the proper equipment and tools that keep student-athletes safe is critical to their development and wellbeing,” said Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. “We’re proud that these defibrillators will play a significant and much-needed role in that process as we continue to support our youngest generation by fostering opportunities for healthy competition.”
AEDs are portable, life-saving devices designed to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, a medical condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for youth and teen athletes during exercise and many symptoms or warning signs can go unrecognized prior to sudden cardiac arrest.
“Protecting student-athletes throughout their playing career is one of our top priorities,” said Roman Oben, NFL Vice President of Football Development. “We are excited to partner with the Buccaneers for this donation, which will aid student-athletes around Hillsborough and Pinellas County for years to come.”
Having properly trained staff along with a functioning AED reduce the chances that sudden cardiac arrest results in a tragic outcome. The donation by the Buccaneers and the NFL ensures every public high school in Tampa Bay is equipped with a new life-saving device and is aligned with Florida High School Athletic Association (FSHAA) student-athlete safety policies related to AEDs and training for CPR and defibrillators.
“We are deeply appreciative to our partners at the Buccaneers as well as the NFL for continuing to make a meaningful impact on Hillsborough County Public Schools,” said Lanness Robinson, Hillsborough County Public Schools Director of Athletics. “This generous donation will serve as added protection for student athletes, staff, and spectators, which will provide increased access to life-saving medical devices on each of our high school campuses.”
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ generous donation of AEDs to our high schools is greatly appreciated,” said Al Bennett, Pinellas County Schools Director of Athletics, Prek-12 Physical Education and Health, Driver’s Education and School Wellness. “Their contribution ensures that a certified athletics trainer with an AED is available at all district athletic events. The health and safety of our student-athletes and coaches is always our top priority and the Buccaneers have helped to contribute to that effort.”
The AEDs are being delivered to schools this week, coinciding with the start of the FHSAA flag football season. Last week, the Buccaneers hosted the third annual Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic, presented by AdventHealth. The largest girls flag football event in the nation, more than 1,200 athletes from throughout the state competed in the three-day event in preparation for the start of the season.
The Buccaneers’ commitment to youth and high school athletics extends year-round and impacts student-athletes at all age levels. Each year, the Buccaneers connect with more than 130,000 elementary school students through the Jr. Bucs Fitness Program, providing new equipment while teaching football skills, fitness exercises and educational activities that track and improve student fitness. In middle schools throughout Tampa Bay, the Jr. Bucs Flag Football program supports over 70,000 students every year, strengthening the flag football curriculum with special visits and instruction from certified flag football instructors and Buccaneers Legends. The Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League, in which the team covers fees and equipment for participants at two dozen local Parks and Recreation centers, is the first all-girls, city-wide flag football league in Tampa.
Through the Buccaneers Girls In Football Scholarship, made possible through a $250,000 commitment from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation, the organization became the first NFL team to create an academic scholarship program for girls who play organized football and are passionate about pursuing a career in sports. Overall, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have contributed more than $1.4 million to programs that have provided thousands of student-athletes a platform to demonstrate their talents at high school football combines, recruiting fairs and showcase events with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, offering students the opportunity to earn college scholarships and fulfill their dreams.
In addition to donating AEDs, local high school tackle and flag football coaches are receiving Buccaneers apparel, notebooks and office items as ambassadors for the Buccaneers’ and NFL’s youth football initiatives. To learn more about the Buccaneers’ commitment to uplifting the community, visit www.buccaneers.com.