DETROIT, April 27, 2024 — At an event today featuring the NFL’s Smart Heart Sports Coalition, Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation, the American Heart Association and elected officials, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law House Bills 5527 and 5528, which require comprehensive cardiac emergency response plans in schools, at school athletic facilities and at school events, while also adding a training requirement for school athletic coaches.

Gov. Whitmer’s signature makes Michigan the latest in a growing number of states nationwide that are moving to better prepare schools to respond to sudden cardiac arrests with the creation of cardiac emergency response plans. In recent weeks alone, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia also have enacted legislation into law to address cardiac events in schools. Several other states are considering similar proposals. The Michigan legislation, which passed the state Senate and received concurrent approval in the state House Tuesday, will go into effect for the 2025-26 school year.

The American Heart Association, which is celebrating 100 years of lifesaving service as the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, is championing legislation in more than 40 states to implement cardiac emergency response plans in schools. The Association is a founding member of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, established by the NFL following Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football in January 2023. The coalition is pushing for public policies that prevent fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school students.

“Saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest depends on having a strong chain of survival across the emergency response system,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown, who participated in the Michigan event today, which took place in conjunction with the NFL’s 2024 draft. “This means immediately activating 911, starting quality CPR compressions, having an AED nearby and using it, having EMS on scene and ensuring quality hospital care. We commend elected officials in states nationwide that are implementing evidence-based policies that will save lives among students and others who suffer sudden cardiac arrest at school.”

Bipartisan legislation in both houses of Congress would establish a grant program for schools nationwide to increase CPR training, improve access to AEDs and create cardiac emergency response plans. More than 200 advocates from the Association’s You’re the Cure national grassroots network will convene in Washington, D.C., next month to urge lawmakers to support the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Research and Training in Schools (HEARTS) Act, which unanimously passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March, and the Access to AEDs Act, which has strong bipartisan support in the Senate.

The American Heart Association is the worldwide leader in resuscitation science, education and training, and publishes the official scientific guidelines for CPR. The Association’s Nation of Lifesavers movement is committed to doubling survival rates of cardiac arrest by 2030 through immediate access to CPR and defibrillation. Hamlin serves as national ambassador for Nation of Lifesavers.

“Whether in the classroom or on the playing field, having a plan in place to enable faculty, staff and students to quickly and correctly respond to a cardiac emergency can save lives,” Brown said. “It just makes sense. When we practice CPR, know to call 911 and know where the nearest AED is located, people experiencing a cardiac arrest have a greater chance of survival.”

Each year, more than 356,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital in the United States. Currently, 10% of those people will survive, most likely because there were people nearby prepared to take action. CPR, if performed immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

It is estimated that up to 23,000 children under the age of 18 experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital annually in this country. Of those incidents, about 40% are sports related. In schools with AEDs, approximately 70% of children survive cardiac arrest – 7 times the overall survival rate for children.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

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