SECTION 1. This act shall be known as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act.
SECTION 2. Chapter 111 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 222 the following section:-
Section 222A. Standards for preventing sudden cardiac arrest and death in student athletes.
(a) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
“Athletic activity”, all of the following:
(1) Interscholastic athletics.
(2) An athletic contest or competition, other than interscholastic athletics, sponsored by or associated with a school entity, including cheerleading, club-sponsored sports activities and sports activities sponsored by the school or school-affiliated
(3) Noncompetitive cheerleading that is sponsored by or associated with a school entity.
(4) Practices, interschool practices and scrimmages for all of the activities listed under paragraphs (1), (2) and (3).
“School entity”, all public schools and any school subject to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules.
(b) Educational materials –
(1) The Department of Education shall develop and post on its publicly accessible
Internet websites guidelines and other relevant materials to inform and educate students participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity, their parents and their coaches about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, including the risks associated with continuing to play or practice after experiencing the following symptoms: fainting or seizures during exercise, unexplained shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness, racing heart rate and extreme fatigue.
(2) In developing the guidelines and materials, the Department of Education may utilize, at no cost to the State, an educational video created by Simon’s Fund for the purpose of educating coaches about sudden cardiac arrest, or other existing materials developed by organizations, such as Parent Heart Watch and Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes.
(3) A student participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity and the student’s parent or guardian shall, each school year and prior to participation by the student in an athletic activity, sign and return to the student’s school an acknowledgment of receipt and review of the sudden cardiac arrest symptoms and warning sign information sheet developed under this subsection.
(c) A school entity may hold an informational meeting prior to the start of each athletic season for all ages of competitors regarding the symptoms and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. In addition to students, parents, guardians, coaches and other school officials, informational meetings may include physicians, pediatric cardiologists and athletic trainers.
(d) Removal from play –
(1) A student who passes out or faints while participating in, or immediately following, an athletic activity, or who is known to have passed out or fainted while participating in or immediately following an athletic activity, must be removed from participation at that time by the athletic director, coach or athletic trainer.
(2) A student who, as determined by a game official, coach from the student’s team, certified athletic trainer, licensed physician or other official designated by the student’s school, exhibits signs or symptoms set forth in this section during an athletic activity, may be removed from participation by said game official, coach from the student’s team, certified athletic trainer, licensed physician or other official designated by the student’s school, if he reasonably believes that said symptoms are cardiac related. In the absence of one of the persons listed in this subsection, coaches who observe any of the other symptoms set forth in this section, should notify the parent(s) of the student so that the parent(s) can determine what treatment, if any, the student should seek.
(3) A student who is removed from play under this provision shall not be
permitted return to participation in an athletic activity until the student is evaluated and cleared for return to participation in writing by an appropriate medical professional.
(e) Training course –
(1) Once each school year, a coach of an athletic activity shall complete a sudden cardiac arrest training course offered by a provider approved by the department.
(2) A coach of an athletic activity shall not be eligible to coach the athletic activity until the coach completes a training course as required under this subsection.
(f) Penalties – The governing school body shall establish the following minimum penalties for a coach found in violation of the requirements under subsection (c), the penalties shall take effect two years following the effective date of this section:
(1) For the first violation, a suspension from coaching any athletic activity for the remainder of the season.
(2) For a second violation, suspension from coaching any athletic activity for the remainder of the season and for the next season.
(3) For a third violation, permanent suspension from coaching any athletic activity.
(g) The sponsors of youth athletic activities are encouraged to follow the guidance stated in this section.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create, establish, expand, reduce, contract or eliminate any civil liability on the part of any school entity or school employee.
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