Athletic director responds to new law addressing SCA in student athletes

By: Melanie Williamson

In May 2017, the Ohio Senate passed what is being called Lindsay’s Law, which is designed to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in student athletes. SCA is when the heart expectantly stops beating cutting off blood flow to the brain and vital organs. Nationwide, there have been stories of high school and college athletes, seemingly healthy and in-shape young people, collapsing during a practice or game. This is often a result of SCA, which is fatal if not treated immediately according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Lindsay’s Law is named for Lindsay Davis, who is a national health heart advocate and former Miss Ohio. Davis suffers from a heart condition and has made it her career to help raise awareness. She shared in a public statement that SCA is the leading cause of death among student athletes. She stresses the importance of educating coaches, teachers, parents, and athletes of the risks and warning signs. Because it happens so quickly, the response must be immediate.

Under Lindsey’s Law, parents and student athletes are provided with information about SCA and must sign a form stated they have read the information, they understand the risks, and they understand what will happen if there is a concern over the student’s health.

Additionally, if a student athlete faints or passes out before, during, or after an athletic activity, the student must be removed from the activity evaluated by a health care professional. If the student has a parent, sibling, or child that has suffered from SCA, that student must be evaluated by a health care professional before participating. If a student athlete shows any of the SCA warning signs such as chest pain or discomfort, unexplained fainting or dizziness, unexplained tiredness or difficulty breathing, or unusually fast or racing heart beats, that student must be evaluated by a health care professional.

When asked, Vermilion Local Schools Athletic Direct Andrew Stillman explained that the information provided through Lindsay’s Law has been posted on the Sailor athletics website and has been added to the pre-season forms that all student athletes must complete before competing on a Vermilion team. All Sailor coaches have also been provided with the information and an informational video on SCA, and they are required by the Ohio High School Athletic Association to pass a test before they are hired each year.

When an athlete suffers from SCA, medical attention needs to be administered immediately, this means starting CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED).  Stillman also shared that the district has several AEDs, including ones outside the high school’s main office, outside the locker rooms by the high school gym, in the hallway of the field house, and the trainer carries one while on location with any of the teams. Additionally, Stillman stated that the entire Vermilion School School’s staff is trained every two years on AED use as part of their conditions for employment.

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