New Jersey bill could combat sudden cardiac arrest in athletics

A New Jersey congressman has introduced a bill to combat sudden cardiac arrest in young people, particularly student-athletes.

Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) introduced the bill, entitled the Cardiomyopathy Health, Education, Awareness, Research, and Training in Schools (HEARTS) Act, and it would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the CDC, patient advocacy groups, and health professional organizations to develop educational materials and resources for the general public.

new jerseyIt also calls for guidelines regarding the placement of life-saving automated external defibrillators in schools.

A recent story from detailed the New Jersey bill and responses from those in favor of seeing it implemented. Below is an excerpt from the story.

“All too often, otherwise healthy young people die tragically from sudden cardiac arrest – a silent killer that strikes too many students each year,” said Pallone. “It’s critical that we raise awareness about the causes of sudden cardiac arrest and ensure schools are more prepared to deal with cardiac emergencies so we can prevent these tragic deaths. I’m proud to introduce the HEARTS Act to take these much-needed measures to combat this devastating condition in young people.”

“The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation strongly supports the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment, and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act of 2023. We believe the HEARTS Act will be a crucial step toward addressing a major health crisis. The incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) among young people, especially student-athletes, underscores the urgency of taking proactive measures to increase risk assessment, awareness, and education—as well as ensuring schools and sports fields have cardiac emergency response plans that include ready access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR-AED trained responders,” said Mary M. Newman, President, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. “By supporting the Cardiomyopathy HEARTS Act, Congress can take a significant step toward mitigating the impact of OHCA in youth. The Act will not only save lives but also help create more informed and prepared communities.”

“The John Taylor Babbitt Foundation is a strong supporter of the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act of 2023. Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of over 2000 children and adolescents in the U.S. per year,” said JoAnne Babbitt, Vice President, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation and co-founder of the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation. “The HEARTS Act will help educate health care professionals, schools and parents about genetic heart conditions which increase a child’s risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The preventative and educational measures outlined in this bill have the potential to save many lives from sudden cardiac arrest.”

“Cardiomyopathy is often a silent disease and may be difficult to detect without symptoms,” said Gina Peattie, Executive Director of the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation, a national organization focused on pediatric cardiomyopathy. “By providing educational materials on cardiomyopathy to families and schools, this legislation has the potential to save the lives of many children at risk of sudden cardiac death.”

To read the full story from about the New Jersey bill, click here.