By Carina Livoti
Northport High School’s varsity girls lacrosse team won its second game in a row on Monday, but the night was far from over for the hard-working group of ladies. The whole team moved straight from the game to what they’re calling “The Acompora Challenge” for CPR/AED training.
The Acompora Challenge calls for whole sports teams to become CPR/AED trained. Emily Yoo, the team’s captain, came up with the idea as a way to honor the Acompora family.
“Getting CPR/AED certified is something that’s really close to my heart and Northport lacrosse. I was really looking for a way to spread awareness and Louis’s story,” she said.
Louis Acompora was a Northport varsity boys lacrosse player who tragically died from a condition known as commotio cordis while playing lacrosse in his first high school game in 2000.
Acompora was struck in the chest, knocking his heart into an abnormal rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which eventually caused his heart to stop. After learning that Louis’s life could have been saved by an AED (automated external defibrillator), his family formed the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation to raise awareness and promote training in CPR and AED use.
Emily’s mother, Doreen Yoo, explained that her daughter was inspired by the ice bucket challenge for ALS and its success in raising awareness. The team showed its support through 100 percent attendance at the post-game training session, even after spending the evening beating Smithtown West 7-6.
“They came directly from the game without changing,” Doreen said.
Both Doreen and Emily said that they were proud of the team. Doreen added how special the Northport lacrosse community is, citing the Acompora family as one of its key features.
“The Acomporas give out a scholarship every year. The family has been at every awards dinner just supporting the girls,” she said.
John and Karen Acompora led the training session at the East Northport Fire Department on Monday. John said that in the 12 or so years he, Karen, and their team have been teaching CPR and AED training, they had not had a group of kids like this before.
“We’ve done coaches and organizations, but not a whole team of kids like this; I think that’s what makes this so special tonight,” he said.
Emily said that after the team was certified, they were looking to challenge the Northport High School varsity boys lacrosse team. Her mother said they were also going to call out Syosset.
“I’m definitely hoping that it will gain as much awareness as it can. I don’t want to put a limit on it; if it could go nationwide, I think that would be really useful,” Emily said.