By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News

Last December, three lives were saved in Wisconsin high school sports thanks to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

In the first case, a high school sophomore suffered cardiac arrest during a junior varsity basketball game.

In the second, a Minnesota athlete wrestling at a western Wisconsin meet suffered cardiac arrest.

Finally, in the third, a referee collapsed as a result of cardiac arrest during a varsity basketball game just up the road at Two Rivers High School.

Luckily, in all three cases, CPR was done on the suffering individual and all three survived.

That’s a big reason as to why the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association is making the move they are.

In the April of 2015 WIAA Annual Meeting, the membership passed the amendment to require all paid coaches in all sports to obtain and maintain certification in CPR, First Aid, and AED, effective beginning the 2017-18 school year.

This summer, many coaches in the area will be obtaining that certification. Last week at Denmark High School, about a half dozen coaches were learning how to perform CPR on dummies.

There have been some coaches that have taken the CPR/AED/First Aid classes over the course of the past year.

“It’s required by the WIAA, that all paid coaches be certified, beginning with the 2017-18 school year,” said Denmark athletic director Bill Miller of the training. “The school district and/or WIAA has had requirements in place prior to this for many years.”

Despite having requirements in place, there has never been a rule this drastic in place for the statewide organization.

The fall sports season begins August 7.