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Governor Corbett Signs Law to Better Protect Health of Student Athletes

New Law Aims to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Educate Public

Governor Tom Corbett today signed House Bill 1610, which sets new guidelines for protecting Pennsylvania’s student athletes from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). SCA happens when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. It is the number-one killer of student athletes, claiming up to 7,000 young lives each year, nationwide.

At a bill-signing ceremony at Visitation Blessed Virgin Mary Elementary School in Norristown, Governor Corbett was surrounded by students, teachers and parents who have lost children to SCA.

“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.”

Warning signs of SCA can include fainting, shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness and a racing heart rate.

The new law ensures that coaches, trainers, student athletes, and parents are educated on the symptoms of SCA before participating in athletics.

“Students who want to participate in athletics will take home a list of symptoms and their parents will read it, sign it and send it back to the school,” said Corbett. “They’ll know the warning signs to look for, which is the biggest part of prevention.”

Children who show the symptoms of SCA will also be properly screened by a medical professional before being allowed to return to sports.

“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). “My legislation ensures that every coach in the state knows the warning signs of SCA and can take appropriate steps to protect our student athletes.”

The new law also mandates that coaches must complete a SCA training course once a year through a provider approved by the Department of Health. The law takes effect in 60 days.

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