UPDATE | Mom who has been working on AED awareness excited about W.Va. legislation

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 1/27/20 @ 6:50 p.m.
Since April 2018, Kristy Ray has been working hard to raise awareness about the importance of having Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) at every sports field. She's on this mission to save lives after one wasn't around to save her 8-year-old son Caleb.

House Bill 4497 was filed Thursday in honor of Alex Miller, a senior at Roane County High School who died in September when he collapsed on the field during a football game.

"We just wanted to get it out there that sudden cardiac arrests happen," Ray said.

WSAZ has followed Kristy's journey for almost two years as she has worked to educated schools and leagues about AEDs.

In August 2018, WSAZ aired an investigation that revealed the lack of regulations that require AEDs be around in West Virginia.

However, a bill that would require AEDs be on hand for any school sporting event has now been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

"If I could rewind five years and have the knowledge that I have now, and know that this could happen to our son, that this could happen to anybody's children, I would have walked on the field differently, I would have walked on the field better prepared," Ray said.

House Bill 4497 was filed Thursday in honor of Alex Miller, a senior at Roane County High School who died in September when he collapsed on the field during a football game.

"My ultimate thought was not again," Ray said, as she thought about when she heard of Alex Miller's death. "Not in our own state where we have done so much to put it out there that we need AEDs."

The bill says, "The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission shall require that an automated external defibrillator device be present during the duration of all extramural high school or middle school athletic events under the control, supervision and regulation of the commission."

The bill also says that all school sports personnel be trained on how to use an AED.

"I think we all have been waiting for that "ah-ha" moment for people to understand that this is a problem and move forward with fixing it. I think we are there, and it is very exciting. Exciting is a very odd word to use considering the tragic events that lead up to it, however, maybe this won't have to happen anymore in West Virginia."

Statistics show 2,000 children die every year from sudden cardiac arrest, and two-thirds of them happen on the ball field.

Ray says she feels this bill will ease minds of parents, like her who may have worries about what could happen when her daughter plays sports.

"With the school system making it mandatory when Maggie gets in school, maybe we wont have to worry about it. Maybe we won't have to carry our own AED. We will know that when all these children take the field, that their hearts are covered just as much as their skulls and their bones and all the other safety equipment we have."

Kristy says she hopes to see the bill move through to votes swiftly, and wants lawmakers to think about their own children or grandchildren as they consider the bill.

"I want them to take any kind of apprehensions they may have about moving this bill forward, and I want them to weigh it against, is it worth the loss of a child? There is no reason why it should trump the life of a child, and it could be their child."

Kentucky is the only state in our region that requires AEDs to be nearby for sports practices and games. The law passed in 2009 after the families of teenagers who died playing football pushed for legislation.

In 2017, Lindsay's Law went into effect in Ohio which requires coaches, parents, and players to to be educated on sudden cardiac arrest.

HB 4497 is making its way through committee before it is voted on in the House.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/25/20
A bill that would require AEDs be on hand for any school sporting event has been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

House Bill 4497 was filed Thursday in honor of Alex Miller, a senior at Roane County High School who died in September when he collapsed on the field during a football game.

The bill says "The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission shall require that an automated external defibrillator device be present during the duration of all extramural high school or middle school athletic events under the control, supervision and regulation of the commission."

The bill also says that all school sports personnel be trained on how to use an AED.

In August 2018, WSAZ aired an investigation that revealed the lack of regulations that require AEDs be around after 8-year-old Caleb Ray died while playing soccer in Lincoln County.

Sudden cardiac arrest kills 2,000 children a year and two-thirds happen on the ball field.

Kentucky is the only state in our region that requires AEDs to be nearby for sports practices and games. The law passed in 2009 after the families of teenagers who died playing football pushed for legislation.

In 2017, Lindsay's Law went into effect in Ohio which requires coaches, parents, and players to to be educated on sudden cardiac arrest.

HB 4497 is making it's way through committee before it is voted on in the House.