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Pallone Announces Introduction of Bill to Combat Silent Killer in Young People: Sudden Cardiac Arrest

October 26, 2015
Press Release

EDISON, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced his introduction of the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act, legislation to combat Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), the leading cause of death on school property.  The announcement was made at Edison High School’s football field, where Congressman Pallone and Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-NJ) – a leader on this issue on the state level – discussed the legislation and increasing awareness about the risk of SCA that many children face.

“All too often, otherwise healthy young people die suddenly from Sudden Cardiac Arrest – a silent killer that strikes 7,000 children a year,” said Congressman Pallone.  “Raising awareness about the causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and ensuring schools are more prepared to deal with cardiac emergencies are the first steps in preventing these tragic deaths.  I’m proud to introduce the HEARTS Act to take these much-needed measures to combat SCA.”

Pallone and Diegnan were joined by Edison High School students, teachers and administrators, along with Razeenah Walker, the grandmother of Kittim Sherrod, an Edison High School student and football star who died tragically in 2009 from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after going into sudden cardiac arrest during track and field practice.

The HEARTS Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as patient advocacy and health professional organizations, to develop educational materials and resources on cardiomyopathy for public awareness and distribute materials to schools, teachers and parents.  It also calls for guidelines regarding the placement of life-saving automated external defibrillators in schools, as well as information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.  Providing this valuable information about cardiomyopathy and SCA to families, schools, and childcare centers is an important step in helping to save young lives.   

In the U.S. there are 600,000 people with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and there are nearly one million with other conditions that can cause SCA in young people. According to the CDC, one student athlete falls victim to SCA every three to four days.