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Pennsylvania took a huge step in the right direction this June when it became the first state to pass the “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act.” The law goes into effect before the start of the 2012-13 school year and is a great strategy in diagnosing and preventing sudden cardiac arrests in student-athletes across the country.

Education is key. The newly enacted measure requires schools to give informational sheets to student-athlete parents addressing symptoms and signals of sudden cardiac arrest. Without a parent’s signature the student may not play in any school sport. Should students display any signs of sudden cardiac arrest before, during or after sport activity, they will be sidelined and must receive medical clearance before returning to play.

The standout clause in my opinion is that coaches are required to have their own athletic testing and complete an annual training course on sudden cardiac arrest. They must go online, read the materials and certify they have done so. Until that is completed, they may not coach an athletic activity.

The whole objective is to be able to instinctively recognize warning signs and know how to take immediate and proper action. Noticing symptoms prior to a cardiac event will aid tremendously in turning a near catastrophe into a savable situation.

I applaud Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett for signing the law and better protecting student-athletes everywhere from heart failure.

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