Senate Approves Madden Measure To Help Promote Heart-Health Awareness In Student Athletes

TRENTON – The Senate today unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden that would help to increase awareness among parents and students about sudden cardiac death and its incidence among student athletes.

“The key to helping prevent sudden cardiac death is early detection,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Parents must be aware of the risks of sudden cardiac death, and take their children for regular medical check-ups and physicals. These deaths can be prevented, but only by taking early action and the proper precautions.”

Senator Madden’s measure, S-332, would require the Department of Education to work with the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and the American Heart Association to create a pamphlet containing information about sudden cardiac death. The pamphlet would contain a clear explanation of sudden cardiac death, statistics of cases among student athletes, warning signs and available screening options. The literature would be distributed to local school districts who would, in turn, distribute the pamphlets to all parents and guardians whose children participate in interscholastic sports.

“Screening technology is available, but it is unable to identify all of the possible cardiovascular conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death, which is why parents must talk to their children’s pediatrician so that if there is a family history of a heart disease, they can work together to help save lives,” said Senator Madden.

Senator Madden also said that he has seen statistics from The American Academy of Pediatrics stating that most fatalities involving student athletes occur between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. – the hours when sports activities are usually held. Parents, coaches and teachers should familiarize themselves with information about the conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death so that in case of emergency, they can step in and help save the lives of the children who depend on them, Senator Madden said.

This measure now heads to the Assembly for approval.

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