Minnesota Timberwolves star Ricky Rubio teams up with Medtronic Foundation to save young lives from sudden cardiac arrest


Medtronic has announced that Ricky Rubio, star of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team, joined the Medtronic Foundation this February with the purpose to save young lives worldwide from sudden cardiac arrest. Through the Foundation’s HeartRescue Project, Rubio will lend a “virtual” hand in teaching the public how to respond quickly to a sudden cardiac arrest emergency.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes-every three days a young athlete dies of sudden cardiac arrest in the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2,000 Americans under the age of 25 die of sudden cardiac arrest annually, and the risk of sudden cardiac arrest is three times greater in competitive athletes. Overall, nearly 385,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest each year, more than breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer combined.

Now with the help of Rubio, the HeartRescue Project is unveiling the latest life-saving innovation, an interactive online experience called the “Save-A-Life Simulator“. Using first person point-of-view videos, the viewer joins Rubio for a workout at the gym where they both witness a person collapse from sudden cardiac arrest.

In the “choose your own adventure” style videos, Rubio helps guide visitors through a series of critical choices, starting with an initial decision to help the victim or ignore the situation and keep working out.

The online experience promotes proper and timely bystander response to sudden cardiac arrest, using hands only CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED). The hope is that Rubio’s involvement will draw attention to the prevalence of sudden cardiac arrest and its effect among young athletes, as well as provide a quick and basic technique for saving the life of a sudden cardiac arrest victim.

“Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even healthy athletes,” said Ricky Rubio,

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard. “Knowing how to quickly respond to this kind of crisis can help save someone’s life – including a teammate or friend of yours.”

In addition to the Simulator, Rubio and Timberwolves players will attend clinics hosted at Twin Cities’ schools in February as part of the Timberwolves’ FastBreak Foundation WolvesFit month. These clinics will focus on health and fitness and show students the importance of responding to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest – knowing that it could happen to anyone in their school.