HARRISBURG, Pa. — Youth sports across the Commonwealth could see new safety measures to protect heart health.
State Senator Katie Muth announced plans to introduce legislation requiring all coaches and supervisors of after-school activities to become CPR certified and learn how to use an AED.
“You could have six or eight concurrent sporting events happening at the same time, an athletic trainer can’t be at six fields at one time," said Julie Walker.
Walker is the executive director of the Peyton Walker Foundation, which is named after her daughter who lost her life after suffering Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
She says the law would improve current training for coaches and help save lives.
“It’s a win for coaches, it’s a win for students, it’s a win for parents because it’s going to have a tremendous impact on saving people’s lives," said Walker.
In a statement, Senator Muth said training coaches and having AEDs available is a public safety issue. She referenced Damar Hamilin's cardiac arrest he suffered in January while playing against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.
“Everyone is learning from it," said Walker. "They recognize it now, they know the action plan should be call, push, shock, and I think it’s a win for everyone. [I believe] we’ll see survival rates up ticking in the right direction, finally.”
Walker says school districts and athletic directors have raised concerns about the costs to pay for coaches’ certification, but she says getting coaches CPR training will greatly help young athletes in the event of an emergency.
“If the coaches know what to do, if an AED is at all fields, if 911 is called, then survival rates have increased and you’re giving an advantage to anybody who’s in cardiac arrest," said Walker.