(Indianapolis, IN) - More school children could be spared from sudden cardiac death by legislation proposed at the Indiana Statehouse. A bill presented Wednesday was inspired by the death of a La Porte High School football player in 2013. Jake West died at practice from an undetected heart condition. The measure strives to have more children tested to see if they have the same condition before they, perhaps, meet the same fate.
Jake’s mother, Julie West, told lawmakers at the Statehouse the same heart condition was later discovered in her daughter. “Jake’s older sister, by three-years, was heavily involved in similar school activities and athletics. The same as Jake and never had any issues during that time in regard to heart health. Now, she’s living with a defibrillator implanted after we found out, too, she had an undiagnosed heart condition,” she said.
West, a member of the La Porte City Council, has led a fund raising charge that has allowed students in several school districts to undergo heart screenings since her son passed away. The measure was submitted for consideration by State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie.
Under the legislation, schools would have to provide information about the signs of sudden cardiac arrest and how to go about having a child tested. Any student showing symptoms would be removed from practice or a game and could not return until cleared by a doctor.