Proposed bill ‘Damar’s Law’ would require AEDs at all school sporting events in Pennsylvania

McKees Rocks native and Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has inspired many throughout his recovery after collapsing on the football field earlier this month.

Hamlin is now inspiring a piece of legislation in Pennsylvania that could help save the lives of other young athletes.

Pennsylvania Senator Marty Flynn announced he’s introducing a bill called “Damar’s Law” to require automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, at all school sporting events.

“Why would anybody oppose that bill? I mean, we want to protect our student-athletes and we want to make it a safe and comfortable environment for them to enjoy their sport,” said Frances Stephen, the mother of a North Allegheny High School cheerleader.

Stephen and several other parents at Friday night’s North Allegheny verses New Castle basketball game think Flynn’s proposal is a slam dunk.

“I think it’s a great thing. Anything to help protect the kids is what we should be doing,” said Lauren Lanasa, the mother of two North Allegheny basketball players. “If we can take a tragedy, you know something that could’ve been a tragedy and make it into a positive, that’s what we should do.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes.

The American Heart Association says nine out of 10 cardiac arrest victims shocked by an AED within one minute survive.

That’s why Flynn’s bill would require the AED be right on the court or field and all coaches be trained how to use it.

“Things happen and we need to be prepared,” said Lanasa.

When announcing his proposal, Flynn wrote, “Damar Hamlin is a reminder that even elite athletes experience [sudden cardiac arrest]. His recovery has been described as ‘miraculous’ by many, though it is undeniable that the immediate response saved his life. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill to provide our student athletes with the same chance for a ‘miracle.’”

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