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Auburndale Speedway Had an Incident with an Infant That Couldn’t Breathe. Now They Have an AED in Case of Another Emergency

Auburndale Speedway Had an Incident with an Infant That Couldn’t Breathe. Now They Have an AED in Case of Another Emergency.

by James Coulter

Last week, Auburndale Speedway had an incident where they were forced to momentarily stop their races to attend to an infant who had stopped breathing. They were forced to stop the races so they could check their condition and focus on life-saving efforts. Fortunately, they were able to save the young child and resume their races.

“We had to red flag the enduro race last night because a one-year-old infant was brought to our safety officials not breathing,” a Facebook post read. “They performed CPR and got the baby breathing again and an [ambulance] was called. Thank you to our safety personnel that not only make sure our drivers are okay but also everyone in attendance. At the time it may have seemed like a minor inconvenience during the race but was certainly more important.”

Auburndale Speedway has since been prepared for future emergencies now that an automated external defibrillator [AED] has been installed at their race track facility. The AED was donated by Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to installing these emergency medical devices at local businesses and other establishments.

Melanie Brown started the organization three years ago following the untimely passing of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Not wanting anyone else to experience a similar loss, she started her organization to raise proceeds to donate AEDs across the county, as well as fund scholarships for medical students and firefighters.

Melanie was invited to donate an AED at Auburndale Speedway. This AED was one of more than 20 that her organization has donated and installed at establishments across the county including Tanner’s Lakeside, The Mission, and the Winter Haven Boxing Club.

“It is absolutely, honestly just amazing that Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation is getting out there and so many people hear about it, and I am thankful to place that here because supporting this foundation can get out here is so touching,” Brown said.

Matt Nichols, safety director for 30 years, had invited Melanie and her team to install an AED at the Speedway. Seeing all of the good work she had done installing AEDs throughout the county, he admired her work, especially in light of the tragedy that inspired it.

“I felt we needed one here on sight,” he said. “We have a lot of people here every weekend. Every age you can imagine are here from newborns to elderly. They come by here to watch the race and to race. We admire her foundation for actually doing this. She is very inspiring, she is doing a very good thing here, and we appreciate it.”

Jamie Wetherington, a member of the medical team, was present during last week’s incident. He and his team assessed the young patient and discovered that a popcorn kernel was stuck in the infant’s airway. He is thankful that an AED was donated to their facility in case another emergency arises.

“She [Melanie] and her organization are top-notch,” he said. “We couldn’t be prouder.”

Colette and Rex Guy, the owners of Auburndale Speedway, were honored to have received the AED. They are glad to be prepared with it in case of an emergency, and they hope and pray such an emergency never arises.

Mostly, we are honored that they would think of us and donate to us and it just gives [us] peace of mind that you have it on this property.

“It is awesome that we have something [like Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation] in Polk County,” Colette said. “They are that extra mile and doing this for so many people in the county and we are lucky to be a part of it.”

I” think it is very well needed here, we can use it the proper way, and anything that can save a life, that is what it means,” Rex said. “It is awesome what she is doing. I hope we don’t have to use it, but we do have one.”

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