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Pennsylvania Student Athletes Offered Protection Under Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Bill

Earlier this month we reported on the safety ranking of Pennsylvania in respect to safety initiatives states take to prevent injuries and death among their residents.  Pennsylvania was recognized for having a strong youth sports concussion safety law. Now, Governor Tom Corbett has signed a new law that will offer additional protection to young athletes – an act establishing standards for preventing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and death in student athletes.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, SCA is the abrupt and unexpected loss of heart function, and can cause death if not treated within minutes.  SCA is attributed to more than 2,000 deaths in the United States each year.  The New York Times reports that while sedentary youths are susceptible to SCA, the risk is nearly three times higher in competitive athletes. In addition, a high school student dies of cardiac arrest as often as every three days. SCA is the number-one killer of student athletes.

Corbett is well aware of these facts and wants to help prevent PA athletes from becoming victims of SCA. Corbett signed House Bill 1610 which “ensures that coaches, trainers, student athletes, and parents are educated on the symptoms of SCA before participating in athletics.”

“The message that we often send our kids is to play through the pain, but many don’t realize that advice can be fatal,” said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery), one of the bill’s sponsors.

The bill sets standards, and penalties, for schools to follow during athletic practices and events. Primarily, students that exhibit symptoms of SCA will be removed from play, and cannot return until evaluated by a licensed or registered nurse.

The bill requires each athlete to take home an informational sheet on SCA with information about symptoms, which can include fainting, shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness and a racing heart rate. The parent is required to read and sign the document.

In addition, coaches will be required to complete a SCA training course once a year through a provider approved by the Department of Health.

“Being sidelined for a game is better than being lost forever,” said Gov. Corbett. “This is a law of prevention, born out of a painful loss and a spirit of generosity from these families who have seen beyond their own sorrow and found hope for others.”

The SCA law takes effect 60 days after the May 30 signing.  The “concussion” safety law, which Corbett signed in 2009, is effective on July 1.

Our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys applaud Governor Corbett for helping to keep our young athletes safe when participating in sports.  We encourage both the athletes and their parents to review the information regarding SCA and to ask questions as needed.  Sports are a lot of fun, however, injuries or death can occur if the athletes are not properly protected and monitored.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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