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Proposed Mass. Law Would Require AED Training For Students, Parents, Coaches

Proposed Mass. law would require AED training for students, parents, coaches

BOSTON - The state of Massachusetts is considering adding training requirements for coaches, students and parents in schools that advocates say could save lives.

Earlier this year, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill that requires all schools in the state to have automated external defibrillators, commonly known as AEDs.

There's a new push to require all student-athletes, coaches and even parents to learn the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, and how to use an AED.

Among the hundreds of student athletes at a given school, some of them might have undiagnosed heart problems; that’s why Algonquin Regional High School is prepared.

“We want to be pro-active, instead of reactive,” ARHS’s Brian Doherty explained. “The most important thing is you've got to recognize there is an emergency going on. That's the scary part of most disasters, they didn't recognize what was happening.”

Coaches at Algonquin get training on the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest every year. They also learn how to use an AED.

Now, two bills on Beacon Hill would help avoid that scary situation by requiring all schools to educate coaches, student-athletes and their parents about sudden cardiac arrest and how to treat it.

“In this country we lose one child every three days to cardiac arrest,” Sue Canning told Boston 25 News.

One of those lost children was her son, Kevin.

“He was out with some friends on a pontoon boat went down to grab the anchor and had his event,” she explained.

Kevin was just 19 when he died of sudden cardiac arrest.

Canning says the new bills are important because they close a gap in the bill passed earlier this year requiring AEDs in all Massachusetts schools. That bill made no provision for training people on how to use the devices.

“It's requiring that coaches, student athletes, and parents watch an eight-minute video to educate themselves on signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest,” said Canning.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has not taken a stance on the new set of bills, but the organization has long been a strong proponent of getting AEDs into schools.

“As this legislation and all the different regulations come forward, we have to see how they all play out and how they're all implemented and how they're all managed by our schools,” MIAA’s Richard Pearson said.

Proponents hope the bill passes more quickly than the last because with sudden cardiac arrest, time is of the essence.

Backers of the last bill say the biggest stumbling block they ran into was that they were proposing something that would cost money. But advocates say this new proposal won’t cost anything.

Story Credit: http://www.fox25boston.com/news/proposed-mass-law-would-require-aed-training-for-students-parents-coaches/599818561