Lifesaving Drone Technology Debuted at this year’s American Birkebeiner Event 

HAYWARD, WI (March 6, 2024) – As the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation wraps a successful 50th Anniversary Season this weekend with the Fat Bike Birkie, the ABSF medical team in Hayward, Wisconsin celebrated something never before tried in sports: after two cardiac incidents at the 2023 American Birkebeiner race, the team turned to innovations in drone technology to ensure that, should another heart incident occur at races in years to come, ABSF medical is well-positioned to deliver an AED to a racer before it’s too late.   

While thankfully it was not needed at this year’s race, drone manufacturer DJI had staff on site overseeing the launch of its M350 drone that is able to deliver an AED to enhance delivery to areas of the course that are otherwise difficult to access, avoiding the circuitous and lengthy routes that would have be traveled by ambulance or snowmobile, to ensure the fastest possible delivery of the medical technology.  In cardiac arrest, the ability to access an AED within five minutes is often the difference between life and death.   

“An amazing feature of the Birkie trail is its rural and rolling terrain. But that does pose a challenge when responding to medical emergencies,” said Jesse Coenen, MD Medical Director – American Birkebeiner & Emergency Physician with Tamarack Health Hayward Medical Center. “The idea of using a drone to deliver lifesaving supplies, specifically an AED (defibrillator), can drastically improve response times. This year DJI drone company assisted us in having a drone-carrying AED based at the top of Mt Telemark for Birkie weekend. The Birkie Medical team works hard to enhance emergency preparedness, and will continue to try to optimize our plans” 

Wayne Baker of drone manufacturer DJI said, “this [the American Birkebeiner] will be the first time such technology has been used in a major sporting event but it could soon become the norm – used in everything from marathons to the Olympics and the Tour de France.”  

For more information and to be connected with Dr. Jesse Coenen or Wayne Baker for additional comment, reach out to or call the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Marketing Team at 715-575-1168 

Posted March 6, 2024 at 4:46 pm