Bills Aim To Build Awareness, Save Lives
TRENTON – Senator Fred Madden (D – Gloucester, Camden) today introduced new legislation he hopes will save lives and create widespread awareness of student athlete heart conditions. The bills seek to implement recommendations made by the New Jersey Student Athlete Cardiac Screening Task Force, which officially issued its report last month on how to prevent sudden cardiac death in student athletes between the ages of 12 and 19.
“Through enhanced screening and training we can discover heart conditions in our young people before it is tragically too late,” said Madden. “In this day and age, it is simply unacceptable to have students engaging in physical activity without knowing about possible health conditions that could have dire consequences. We can help save lives by implementing the task force’s recommendations and I want to thank the members for their work.”
The first bill, designated as the “Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Reporting Act,” would require the reporting of children’s sudden cardiac events and establish a statewide database to keep track of such information. The second bill would require certain health insurers, such as health, hospital and medical service corporations, to provide health benefits coverage for an annual physical examination that would determine if a student is able to participate in athletic or camp activities.
The third piece of legislation introduced, called the “Scholastic Student Athlete Safety Act,” would implement additional recommendations of the task force report. It would include such things as updating the preparticipation history and physical examination form, ensuring all healthcare professionals who conduct preparticipation histories and physical examinations of student athletes are properly licensed, ensuring these same individuals participate in the appropriate continuing education courses, and that all student athletes and their parents or guardians certify that they have read and reviewed the “Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes” pamphlet.
“The task force recommendations were a great first step, but we render them meaningless if we don’t move to act on them. I want to make these recommendations a reality, and I look forward to working with the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature and members of the task force on this issue,” added Madden.
In 2009, the Legislature responded to growing concern over a growing number of sudden deaths in student athletes by passing Senator Madden’s legislation establishing the task force. The task force was given the responsibility of studying, evaluating and developing recommendations relating to specific actionable measures to enhance screening of student athletes for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other life-threatening cardiac conditions.