Among those at the event were the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery), and Darren and Phyllis Sudman of Plymouth Meeting. The Sudmans lost their 3-month-old son Simon to an undetected heart defect in 2005. The couple put him down for a nap, and he never woke up, his mother said.
The couple created a nonprofit, Simon’s Fund, which offers heart screenings for children, and also pushed legislators to write a bill that would provide specific steps for coaches to take to protect athletes from sudden cardiac death.
The law requires a coach, game officials, or school-certified athletic trainer or doctor to look for signs of cardiac arrest, including fainting, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness and a racing heart rate. Athletes showing those signs must be pulled from the game immediately.
To return to the court or playing field, the athletes must have a written note from a doctor, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or cardiologist. The law also requires coaches of sports and cheerleading to undergo annual training in the warning signs for cardiac arrest.
Athletes have been known to collapse and die from undetected hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the muscle that makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood.
In August 2010, that condition caused the death of Akhir Frazier, 16, a Prep Charter High School student and basketball star.
Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her MontCo Memo blog at philly.com.