Bill filed to increase AED access in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Since Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the football field, many are focusing on education and awareness about life-saving devices being close by in case of sudden cardiac arrest.
In Kentucky, there are no laws on the books that require life-saving devices like automated external defibrillators(AEDs). That could change with legislation filed in the Kentucky House.
- AED policies reexamined after Damar Hamlin injury
- Sports teams assess safety protocols after Hamlin collapse
Under legislation introduced on Tuesday, Kentucky middle and high schools would be required to have easy access to an AED on athletic fields and school-sanctioned events.
Schools would also be required to have an emergency action plan with hands-on rehearsals at the start of each sport season.
“I think until something tragic unfortunately happens, sometimes these important issues don’t rise to the level that they should,” said Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill. “We’re very happy that Damar Hamlin’s case turned out the way it does. I think it just illustrates the importance of having an AED and emergency action plan in place.”
The bill has bipartisan support.
“This legislation is needed in Kentucky and will save lives. That’s why it’s so important,” said Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington.
The language of the bill is still being fine-tuned, including establishing a trust fund for the devices. Moser says she doesn’t want to pass an unfunded mandate.
The devices run about $800 each.
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation says just 20 states require AEDs at schools.
Two Kentucky families believe their sons would be alive today had an AED been around when they suffered cardiac arrest on soccer fields.
In 2010, Cameron Batson passed away on a high school soccer field. In 2020 Matthew Manjine Jr. collapsed during soccer practice.
“We cannot change the past. But we have been and will continue to do everything that we can to help prevent tragedies like this happening to other families,” said Cameron Batson’s brother Logan Batson.
Both the Batson and Mangine families have worked with lawmakers to get legislation on the books. Saying their stories are just two of many.
“If you are part of this select group of families that have endured this tragic loss, you would understand why we are so passionate about these issues,” said Matthew Mangine’s father Matt Mangine.
Both families have established foundations since their sons’ deaths where they raise money to buy aeds for schools, teams, and other places.
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