INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WKRC) – A bill to expand sudden cardiac arrest awareness and protection in schools became state law in Indiana.
House Bill 1040 was signed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Tuesday.
The bill amends an already existing law to add information around heart screenings following the death of Jake West, an Indiana high school football player who collapsed and died from an undetected heart condition in 2013.
The bill will require schools to provide parents with information on EKGs, or electrocardiograms, that often detect heart abnormalities.
It will also require coaches and even marching band leaders to be trained on how to treat sudden cardiac arrest, and provides them protection from being personally liable if they act in good faith in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest incident.
West’s mom, Julie, and state representative Jim Pressel, who represents their district, were at the bill’s signing, along with IHSAA commissioner Paul Neidig and IU Health cardiologist Dr. Richard Kovacs.
“It’s such an easy thing for them to get a heart screening,” said Rep. Pressel. “Jake’s brought a lot of awareness to this and, I think, has saved lives.”
Local 12 spoke with Julie West about her mission to get a life-saving device on every sideline in Indiana in May. She launched the Play for Jake foundation in her son’s honor.
“We all have nieces and nephews and kids we love and we want to know that they’re protected,” West said. “By getting their heart screened, we’re going to know if there’s any type of condition that needs to be followed or corrected.”
Ohio has a similar law called Lindsay’s Law that went into effect in 2017. It created sudden cardiac arrest training for coaches and raised awareness surrounding sudden cardiac arrest. The law is named for former Miss Ohio Lindsay Davis, who suffers from a heart condition. She’s still advocating for heart health to raise awareness of undetected heart conditions.