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Minnesota Timberwolves Star Ricky Rubio Teams Up with Medtronic Foundation to Save Young Lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Rubio Helps Web Visitors Save a “Virtual” Life at

MINNEAPOLIS, February 5, 2013 –Minnesota Timberwolves basketball star Ricky Rubio joins the Medtronic Foundation this February in saving young lives worldwide from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Through the Foundation’s HeartRescue Project, Rubio will lend a “virtual” hand in teaching the public how to respond quickly to an SCA emergency.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes—every three days a young athlete dies of SCA in the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2,000 Americans under the age of 25 die of SCA annually, and the risk of SCA is three times greater in competitive athletes. Overall, nearly 385,000 Americans die from SCA 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” found on 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 SCA.

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 SCA, using hands-only CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED). The hope is that Rubio’s involvement will draw attention to the prevalence of SCA and its effect among young athletes, as well as provide a quick and basic technique for saving the life of an SCA victim.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even healthy athletes,” says 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 SCA – knowing that it could happen to anyone in their school.

A corresponding public service announcement (PSA) featuring Rubio will air nationally and at home Timberwolves games, driving viewers to to access the interactive online learning tool. Both the PSA and simulator featuring Rubio were also created in Spanish to reach a wider audience.

SCA is a sudden, abrupt loss of heart function primarily caused by rapid and/or chaotic electrical activity. It occurs without warning and renders a person clinically dead within minutes unless treated with CPR and defibrillation.

In 2012, the HeartRescue Project produced the original “Save-a-Life Simulator” featuring an SCA victim amid a busy shopping mall and is also accessible on This was the first-ever online experience that strung together many of the possible reactions to witnessing SCA in real time. Since its launch, more than 5 million people have learned how to save a life.

About the HeartRescue Project
The HeartRescue Project assembles some of the country’s leading emergency and resuscitation experts to expand successful city and county SCA response programs to statewide levels. The goal is to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates by at least 50 percent over five years in the geographies funded by the program. Learn more about the HeartRescue Project at

About the Medtronic Foundation
The Medtronic Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people around the world living with chronic disease, with a majority of its support thoughtfully aligned with Medtronic’s commitment to expand access to quality healthcare among underserved populations. In addition, Medtronic Foundation supports heath initiatives in communities where Medtronic employees live and give.

About Medtronic
Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology – alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world.


Medtronic Media Contacts:
Rich Fischer, Public Relations, 763-505-2975
Annie Dubsky, Exponent PR, 612-305-6376