BALTIMORE – Due to a new state law, students in Maryland will now be required to learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in order to graduate from high school.
Commonly known as “Breanna’s Law”, the bill was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley earlier this month at the close of the recent 2014 General Assembly session.
The law is named for Breanna Sudano, a student at Perry Hall High School who was saved when someone performed CPR after she collapsed during a field hockey match.
The new CPR requirement will start with students entering ninth grade in 2015. They'll have to pass the health course, which will also include mandatory training on the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), in order to graduate from high school.
“This law is a great step forward in the state of Maryland,” said Bruce Griffin, director of health and sport safety at US Lacrosse. “Having more qualified and trained individuals who can assist in emergency situations is a wonderful thing. Coupled with the use of AEDs, which US Lacrosse supports through grant opportunities, our hope is that more citizens will be empowered to act when lives are at stake.”
Certain members of the Maryland lacrosse community are already helping to spread the message about Breanna’s Law.
Steve Adelsberger is a lacrosse parent and a US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program Level 2 coach. He also works as an EMS shift commander with the Baltimore County Fire Department and understands the importance of bystander involvement.
“It’s not only O.K. to help another human being that’s in great need, but it can be critically necessary,” he said.
As a strong advocate of CPR education, Adelsberger recently facilitated a visit for Breanna, a Terps fan, with the University of Maryland women’s team.
“Coach Cathy Reese was excited to have us come in and teach her team how to do ‘Hands-Only’ CPR training,” Adelsberger said. “This was a great opportunity to generate some more awareness.”
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of an estimated 400,000 people each year. Known as an indiscriminant killer, SCA can strike anyone - including seemingly healthy young athletes. As in Breanna’s case, between 25 and 33 percent of sudden cardiac arrest fatalities occur during sports activity.
The most effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is the timely delivery of a life-saving shock or defibrillation via an AED unit. CPR can effectively bridge the gap until an AED is utilized.
“We know that CPR works, but somebody needs to do something before we get there,” Adelsberger said. “CPR buys time until an AED arrives.”
With that understanding, US Lacrosse continues to encourage all leagues, teams and organizations to have an AED unit on hand.
“We strongly support CPR education and training for all lacrosse coaches and administrators, and believe that used in conjunction with an AED unit, this can serve as a powerful life-saving combination,” Griffin said.
Does your league or team need to purchase an AED? US Lacrosse has a strategic alliance with Cardiac Science, a leading manufacturer of AEDs, to provide special pricing for US Lacrosse members.