U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., 6th District, re-introduced national legislation to help minimize sudden cardiac death among young athletes.
Pallone’s Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and national patient advocacy and health professional organizations to develop educational materials and resources on cardiomyopathy for public awareness and to distribute materials to schools, teachers and parents. It also calls for guidelines regarding the placement of life-saving AEDs in schools and CPR training.
“What we are doing with this legislation is raising awareness, particularly at schools, because sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death on school property,” Pallone said at a news conference at Metuchen High School.
“All too often, otherwise healthy young people die suddenly from sudden cardiac arrest. Raising awareness about the causes of sudden cardiac arrest and ensuring schools are more prepared to deal with cardiac emergencies are the first steps in preventing these tragic deaths.”
Building awareness and establishing emergency action plans are necessary, but preventative cardiac testing is the best way to help prevent cardiac events in student athletes, which continue to happen throughout the country.
EKGs and echocardiograms DETECT the heart abnormalities that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. With detection comes KNOWLEDGE about a potentially life-threatening condition, which leads to ACTION in the form of treating, curing, monitoring, or managing a condition. And this action is what can help PREVENT a cardiac incident.
Pallone’s message is clear: the senseless tragic deaths of student athletes due to sudden cardiac arrest must stop.
To do this, all high schools, colleges, and universities should give their students the opportunity to be tested for underlying heart conditions. Parents must speak up on behalf of their children when it comes to demanding this testing. Students need to make their health and safety a priority by attending any testing offered.