Assemblyman Santabarbara Announces New Legislation Passed to Ensure Youth Camps and Sports have AEDs

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced that legislation he co-sponsored to protect young athletes, spectators and campers has passed the Assembly (A.366-A). The bill would ensure camps and youth sports programs to establish an automated external defibrillator (AED) implementation plan. The plan would make sure these institutions be trained and access to a defibrillator at camps, games and practices.

“This bill will ensure youth camps and sport leagues have an automated external defibrillator (AED) available at practices and games,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara. “In the wake of the incident where Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a game, experts have said that immediate on-the-field medical attention was crucial in saving his life and future health. While the incident brought attention to the potential dangers of sudden impacts to the chest in football, these injuries can also take place in other common youth sports such as baseball, softball, basketball, hockey and lacrosse. These efforts can help us save lives in these moments where every second counts.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) reported in 2018 that there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the United States, nearly 90 percent of which are fatal. Data from 2019 shows that 38.3 percent of cases are witnessed by a layperson, and by an EMS provider 21.7 percent of the time. Death from cardiac arrest can occur within minutes if proper steps such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an AED to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm are not taken immediately.

Trained, non-medical personnel can use AEDs, which are simplified and portable electronic medical devices, to treat a person in cardiac arrest using voice prompts, lights and text messages to walk the responder through the steps. According to non-profit organization Saving Active Hearts, over 7,000 children experience sudden cardiac arrest every year, with sports-related incidents accounting for 39 percent of sudden cardiac arrests in children 18 years old or younger.

“Having the proper equipment on hand during a medical emergency can often be the difference between life and death,” Santabarbara said. “This legislation will allow parents a sense of comfort should an emergency occur during their child's sporting event or camping experience.”