Sudden cardiac arrest affects nearly 10,000 youth nationally per year according to the American Heart Association, while the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research reports that more student athletes die annually from sudden cardiac arrest than from sport-related trauma. As a result, more and more states are enacting AED legislation.
California Assembly Bill 2009 Requires AEDs at Interscholastic Athletic Programs by July 1, 2019
Joining several other states that have enacted some form of AED legislation pertaining to schools, California has established new requirements for public and charter schools that offer interscholastic athletic programs.
- Mandates at least one automated external defibrillator (AED) be present on campus and accessible to authorized personnel during interscholastic athletic events or activities by July 1, 2019.
- Requires a written emergency action plan that directs the use of the AED, and to have policies that protect school district employees from liability for providing emergency care.
- Ensures AEDs are available to athletic trainers and coaches and other authorized individuals at athletic programs, on-campus activities, and events.
- Ensures AEDs are registered and inspected and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications, including, at a minimum, biannual testing and after each use.
Seconds Count with Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest causes more than 350,000 deaths every year, and while it is largely an issue for older adults, the syndrome is also among the leading causes of death among young athletes.
Rapid treatment of SCA with an AED can be lifesaving. An AED analyzes the heart rhythm and then sends an electric shock to the heart to try to restore its normal rhythm.
Every minute that defibrillation is delayed, the likelihood of survival from SCA drops about 10 percent. If bystanders act quickly and use an AED (in conjunction with CPR), the survival rate is 89 percent among student-athletes suffering SCA on a school campus.
According to the bill’s author, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein -San Diego, 42 young athletes in California died while engaged in physical activity between 2009 and 2011, and among those cases where a cause of death was released, 68 percent were attributed to sudden cardiac arrest.
“Although SCA can occur at any time, vigorous exercise appears to act as a trigger, making SCA more common during athletic practices and games,” Maienschein said in a statement. “SCA is the leading cause of death in athletes during exercise and usually results from intrinsic cardiac conditions that are triggered by vigorous exercise.”
“If automated external defibrillators are more readily available for authorized personnel to use, the lives of more student athletes and spectators will be saved,” he said.
He adds that while almost every coach in California has been trained to use the AED, only about 75 percent of high schools have the machines. The chances of survival are close to 90 percent if a deliberator is used within the first minute of collapse. After that, chances of surviving rapidly decline.
American Heart Association Recommended Protocol
The American Heart Association already has a recommended protocol for schools to create a cardiac emergency response plan:
- Identification of one or more cardiac emergency response teams trained to respond quickly in case of medical emergencies;
- Strategic placement and routine maintenance of AEDs, ideally to ensure that an AED is readily accessible so that a rescuer can retrieve it and deliver a shock within three minutes of collapse;
- Dissemination of the plan throughout the school campus;
- Ongoing staff training in CPR and AED use;
- Regular drills throughout the school year to ensure school staff are prepared to respond to medical emergencies;
- Working with local emergency responders to ensure the plan is integrated into community emergency response protocols; and
- Annual review and evaluation of the plan.
Full text of the Bill can be found here.
School Health can help you decide what supplies you need to prepare your school for emergency situations. Visit our California AED Legislation Page for more information.