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New law to warn parents of youth sports heart attack risk

Parents of young athletes in Wisconsin will soon get a primer on possible heart attacks.

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signed a new law that requires the state’s Department of Public Instruction to work with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, the group that runs high school sports in the state, on a warning sheet for parents about the possibility of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Much like concussions and head injuries, it is vital that parents and students understand the risks associated and are empowered to make the best decisions for their health,” Evers said in a statement.

That includes information about EKG’s that can be used to diagnose heart problems in young athletes.

“This bill would specifically require DPI to include information on the risks of continuing athletic activity after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest symptoms; the potential risks, benefits and evidence for EKG testing; and how to request an EKG from a student’s healthcare provider,” the governor’s office said. “The information sheet would be distributed to participants in youth athletics offered to persons 12 years and older to help young people and their parents take action to understand a student’s heart health prior to participating in youth athletics.”

The law is inspired by Kai Lermer, a 16-year-old athlete at Waukesha North High School who died suddenly while playing basketball in 2019.

“Kai was a three-sport athlete at Waukesha North High School. Despite being only 16 and a great athlete, Kai died from sudden cardiac arrest,” Sen. Alberta Darling, R-Rver Hills, said Tuesday. “Regular school physicals for sports didn’t detect the problems with Kai’s heart.”

Darling helped write the legislation.

“High school athletes can pass traditional physicals without knowing they have a potentially fatal issue with their heart,” Darling said, “This new law alerts parents and can help save lives.”

Wisconsin already requires a similar primer for concussions and head injuries for young athletes.

This article was originally posted on New law to warn parents of youth sports heart attack risk

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