TAMPA, Fla. — Protecting student-athletes from detectable heart conditions that could cost them their lives. That is the goal of a new bill, Senate Bill 280, that aims to require heart screenings and first aid lessons at the middle and high school levels in the entire state of Florida.
I spoke with the founder of an organization that is one of this bill's biggest champions.
Evan Ernst is the executive director of "Who We Play For," which he started after losing one of his high school teammates at the beginning of soccer practice. He was one of unfortunately hundreds of kids who died from a heart condition that is completely preventable if detected early through a screening.
Ernst said our lawmakers need to be educated on this and understand what a common-sense life-saving measure it would be.
“All we are asking is to advance that fine print and make this a standard of care for every kid like it is for big-time collegiate and everyone who is going to a federal penitentiary in the state of Florida is getting their heart checked, we see this massive discrepancy that has cost a generation of kids their lives over the decades, we think we can partner with the state and change that."
Senate Bill 280 has moved into the education subcommittee and in addition to mandatory first aid training, is expected to require heart screenings for all Florida student-athletes. The cost Ernst claims, could be as low as $20 per test.