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Sudden cardiac arrest is not just a concern for adults. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it takes the lives of approximately 2,000 children every year. On May 29, 2012, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted Act 59 called the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act. This Act contains three requirements:

     (1) Parents of student athletes in the public school system must read and sign an acknowledgement form prior to their student participating in sports. To download this form, click here.

     (2) Coaches must complete an annual training course on sudden cardiac arrest. The following training is approved:

          Sudden Cardiac Arrest Training

    (3) Coaches must remove a player that exhibits warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest and may not allow their return until cleared by a licensed medical professional.

To read the full text of Act 59 of 2012, click here.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?  

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart unexpectedly ceases to function. Often, this is because of ventricular fibrillation, irregular and rapid quivering of the heart's lower pumping chambers (ventricles). When this occurs, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs, causing loss of consciousness or seizure-like activity in seconds.

If not treated within minutes, SCA results in death. The normal rhythm of the heart can only be restored with defibrillation, an electrical shock that is safely delivered to the chest by an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is frequently the outcome of an underlying heart condition. It can also occur secondary to other conditions such as impact to the chest, heat stroke, asthma, drowning, electrocution, allergic reaction or medication.

For more information about SCA, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to find the answer to all of your Act 59 of 2012 questions.

Other Resources for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Athlete/Parent/Guardian Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symptoms and Warning Signs Information Sheet and Acknowledgement of Receipt and Review Form 

COACHES: You Could Save a Life!: Information and risk assessment form.

Parent Heart Watch: A national network of parents, families and partners dedicated to reducing Sudden Cardiac Arrest in youth.

Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Policy Statement on Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Arrest from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Philadelphia University You Tube Video:  Sudden cardiac arrest educational video presented by six prominent Philadelphia University basketball coaches.    

Simon's Fund: An organization dedicated to saving children's lives by raising awareness of conditions that lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death.

Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation: A Foundation dedicated to saving the lives and supporting the families of children and young adults who are genetically predisposed to sudden death due to heart rhythm abnormalities.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Fact Sheet: Developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation: A Foundation whose mission is to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest, a leading cause of death in the U.S. and Pennsylvania.

 Updated: November 4, 2014