John Taylor Babbitt Foundation
JTB Impacts New Legislation for Student-Athlete Physicals and Cardiac Incident Reporting
by JTB Foundation
11/06/13 2013

The JTB Foundation is thrilled to report that its strong backing of advanced physical examinations for all student-athletes in New Jersey schools has resulted in a new bill that will lead to the detection of cardiac problems in young people.

Governor Chris Christie in June signed into law the Scholastic Student-Athlete Safety Act, which requires that sports-playing pupils in grades 6 through 12 not only get a comprehensive physical but that their physicians use a certain form for the results of that physical. Schools have to start using the forms in September 2014.

“The law adds questions about cardiac symptoms and family history to the standard physical exam required of all sports participants,” said JoAnne Babbitt, vice president of the JTB Foundation.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester), also provides for the training of school nurses and coaches to interpret the data from those physicals in an effort to properly diagnose heart ailments similar to those that have led to deaths of young athletes across the state.

“We spoke to Senator Madden on numerous occasions about this bill,” noted Babbitt. “He is really passionate about this topic.” Another bill the JTB Foundation supported is called the Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Reporting Act, also sponsored by Sen. Madden and signed by Gov. Christie in late August. It requires the reporting of children’s sudden cardiac events and establishes a statewide database as a repository for the information.
“One of the issues of Sudden Cardiac Arrest among young people is that it it never had to be reported,” noted Babbitt. “Now we’ll be able to start measuring exactly how big a problem it is in this state. And we will be able to see how many lives are saved by AEDs.”

The bill grew out of a blue ribbon task force studying the incidence of young athletes who die suddenly while participating in sports in New Jersey. A report by the task force specifically recommended the appropriate screening with a high quality family history and physical examination together with immediate response strategies to react to potentially fatal life-threatening arrhythmias.

No doubt this information can help improve the survival rates of children who experience sudden cardiac events, sad Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), who was also a sponsor of Janet’s Law, which was enacted last year to require all New Jersey schools to have automated external defibrillators.

“Too many children have been taken from us far too soon because of sudden and undetected cardiac conditions,” Diegan noted.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, November 06, 2013 )
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