SALEM — Oregon lawmakers have begun considering a bill that is intended to save the lives of young athletes who are hit in the chest and go into cardiac arrest.
Under current law, schools, community colleges and public universities must have at least one automated external defibrillator on campus. Schools must also keep defibrillators in buildings considered health clubs, and places of public assembly such as an auditorium or gymnasium.
On Tuesday, the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require that a defibrillator be located within a one-minute walk from playgrounds and sports fields. The bill also would require schools to educate parents and coaches about the potential risks of cardiac arrest from certain sports.
Marina Sergeev told lawmakers that her 11-year-old stepson died after being hit in the chest by a football.
“It’s very scary to send a child to school when he can die during recess,” Sergeev said.
The proposed legislation targets a particular occurrence in which a traumatic blow to the chest from a baseball, hockey puck or another player causes the heart to stop. The occurrence, called commotio cordis, is rare but causes more deaths per year than traumatic sports-related head injuries, according to the United States Commotio Cordis Registry.