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Whitmer signs bills requiring high schools coaches have CPR, AED training

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(The Center Square) –Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two bills requiring high school coaches to maintain valid certification for CPR and automated external defibrillators in case of cardiac arrest.

The legislation requires schools to have a cardiac emergency response plan if a student-athlete collapses on the field because of a cardiac issue.

House Bill 5527, sponsored by state Rep. John Fitzgerald, requires schools to activate a cardiac emergency response plan for the governing body of a school.

HB 5528, sponsored by state Rep. Tyrone Carter, amends the Revised School Code to require any individual who serves as an athletic coach at a public or private high school to maintain a valid certification in CPR and use of an AED.

This certification must be issued by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or a comparable organization or institution approved by the Department of Education.

“All children should be safe when they participate in school sports,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Today, I am proud to sign commonsense, bipartisan bills that will require coaches to be trained in CPR and AED use and ensure all public and private schools have a plan in the event of an on-field medical emergency and practice it.”

The American Heart Association says nearly seven in 10 children survive cardiac arrest in schools with AEDs, which is seven times higher than the overall average survival rate.

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin experienced a cardiac arrest during a televised NFL game. After recovering, Hamlin has been a staunch advocate for protecting student-athletes by urging schools to train coaches in CPR and AED use. He joined Whitmer at the bill signing ceremony, where he also donated 50 AEDs to schools in Michigan.

House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, welcomed the law.

“We’re doing something to tackle sudden cardiac arrest,” Tate said in a statement. “The swift passage and signing of the AED legislation is one more way we’re showing Michiganders that we hear them. We are delivering on the promises made to improve the overall public safety and well-being of students, staff and visitors in our schools.”

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