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Lawmakers pass bill to prevent cardiac incidents for student athletes

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The “Tyrell Spencer Act” is now awaiting Governor Kay Ivey’s signature.

The act, also known as House Bill 45 (HB45), intends to make school athletics safer by fine-tuning requirements for cardiac arrest prevention-related training and defibrillators on school campuses during sporting events.

School districts in Alabama are already required to have automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) on school grounds, but nothing to this point has required them to be on hand on game day or at practice.

If Governor Ivey signs this act into law, schools will be required to have them within 5 minutes of any game or practice, enabling a quicker response to life-threatening incidents by bringing the device to the field or the gym.

HEMSI says there are several key components to saving a life.

“One is early notification, call 911,” HEMSI Spokesperson Don Webster said.

He said it’s also important for bystanders to know CPR and to be sure to have AEDs on hand.

“Everybody should know CPR, 13 years or older,” Webster said. “Third thing that goes with that is an automatic external defibrillator. Early defibrillation, the quicker you can defibrillate someone that is in sudden cardiac arrest the better their survival rate.”

The act would also require coaches at all levels to undergo training on how to react to sudden cardiac arrest, using methods like CPR and the use of an AED.

Tyrell Spencer’s mother says her son died from complications of cardiac arrhythmia while playing basketball at the Richard Showers Center in Huntsville in 2010. After a recent autopsy revealed more information on what happened to Spencer, she got to work to make sure other young athletes don’t suffer the same fate.

“The cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrhythmia,” Spencer’s Mother Dionne Mack said. “Cardiac arrhythmia is where the heart basically misfires, the electronic pulse and electronic signals of the heart stops.”

Mack said a defibrillator could have saved her son’s life.

“It’s common amongst athletes, especially the young ones,” she said “and the one thing that we know that could have saved his life was the defibrillator because it sends the electronic signal back to the heart to jump start it.”

One sports official, Elton Green, says this bill will really help.

“Just having it on the playing field, playing court, it raises your awareness to how serious this initiative is and how important it is to save a life and having safety,” Green said. “being able to help save a life when needed you just never ever know but this is something that needs to be done.”

Lawmakers pass bill to prevent cardiac incidents for student athletes
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