Just four months after Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to enact a law protecting student athletes from sudden cardiac arrest, Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) and his two teen sons participated in a heart screening organized by Simon’s Fund at Upper Dublin High School.
“My legislation was aimed to start the conversation in each household regarding sudden cardiac arrest awareness,” said Vereb. “It’s now my hope that each family across Pennsylvania will take additional steps to protect their children’s hearts because sudden cardiac arrest prevention requires a combined effort of acknowledging, indentifying and responding to the problem.”
Vereb’s sons, Michael, 15, and Shane, 14, were among hundreds of local children and teens whose hearts were screened. Both teen boys are student athletes at Pope John Paul II High School in Royersford.
“We’re very excited to be at Upper Dublin High School checking more than 300 students’ hearts, thanks to the hard work of 13-year old Paige Florin, who planned this event as her Bat Mitzvah project. This is our first school screening since Representative Vereb’s sudden cardiac arrest prevention law went into effect, and is one of three screenings we’ve scheduled for this fall,” said Darren Sudman, founder of Simon’s Fund and father of Simon, who died from sudden cardiac arrest when he was an infant.
As mandated under Act 59 of 2012, known as the Sudden Cardiac Prevention Act which took effect July 30, information regarding sudden cardiac arrest is now up on the state Department of Health’s website at www.health.state.pa.us. Students and their parents also received the information when they signed up for fall sports this year.
This law requires coaches, parents and students to learn about the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest. If they’re shown by a player, the law requires the student be removed from the game from a coach, game official, certified athletic trainer or licensed physician. Student athletes cannot return to the game until an evaluation has been completed and they’ve been cleared by a licensed physician, cardiologist or certified nurse practitioner.
“More than 2,000 students die of sudden cardiac arrest each year and it continues to be the No. 1 killer of student athletes,” Vereb said. “By enacting this law and getting families to be more proactive about this issue, Pennsylvania is leading the charge in preventing the number of sudden cardiac arrest deaths in its communities.”
Simon’s Fund encourages students and their parents to go to www.simonsfund.org to register for one of their screenings.