Governor Hochul Signs Legislation by Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis Requiring Automated External Defibrillator Implementation Plans for Camps and Youth Sports

Senator Shelley Mayer

December 2, 2023

(ALBANY, New York) – Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis announce their legislation (S.7424/A.366A) to require camps and most youth sports programs to adopt a plan to provide access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) at camps, games, and practices, has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for young athletes –– between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 80,000 young athletes die of sudden cardiac arrest each year.  Outcomes of sudden cardiac arrest can be improved when CPR and AED response occur within three minutes of the episode, but this equipment is often not available or easily accessible. 

This legislation will build on existing requirements in state law for AED access, by requiring camps and many youth sports programs to establish a plan detailing how AEDs will be made available at every camp, game, or practice and how they will make a best effort to ensure at least one employee, volunteer, coach, or other qualified adult, who has completed an AED training course, will be present. 

The issue gained national attention with Damar Hamlin’s near-death experience in January during the Buffalo Bills/Cincinnati Bengals game. The goal of the legislative effort is to ensure equipment is available at all youth sports games and practices. Even in school settings, the awareness of the availability of equipment that is already on-site needs to be improved.

Two Rye Brook residents, Dana Colasante and Alice Schoen, brought the issue of AED access to the attention of Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis. Dana’s husband and Alice’s son both experienced  sudden cardiac arrest at a youth sports event, but thankfully survived because they had immediate access to care and an AED. Many families are not as fortunate. Dana and Alice have since co-founded Project ADAM New York, which advocates for cardiac emergency response plans where children learn and play. 

Governor Kathy Hochul stated in the Executive Office’s press release on this legislation, “We all remember the terrifying moment when Damar Hamlin was injured last February, but young athletes at schools and camps could be exposed to similar risks. By requiring camps and youth sports programs to establish an AED implementation plan, kids will be safer and teams will be prepared. I want every parent in New York to know: we're doing everything we can to keep your kids safe." 

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am very pleased that New York has taken action to keep children and spectators safe by requiring youth sports programs to develop a plan for AED access at youth sports practices, games, and other events. This legislation will make these programs safer and provide parents and young athletes with peace of mind. I thank Dana Colasante and Alice Schoen for their advocacy on this personal issue and their continued work to ensure children at play are safe. I am proud to have fought for this legislation alongside them and Assemblyman Otis to ensure other lives can be saved. I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for signing this life-saving legislation.” 

Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “Sudden cardiac arrest has a 90% fatality rate, but those outcomes can be improved when CPR and AED response occurs within three minutes of an episode. It is estimated that between 7,000 and 14,000 youth sudden cardiac arrests occur nationwide each year. This legislation will save lives by having youth sports groups and camps include AED coverage as part of their first aid plans. This important legislation was made possible through the advocacy of Dana Colasante and Alice Schoen, whose husband and son were saved by the presence of an AED at youth sports events. Tremendous thanks go to Governor Hochul, Project Adam, Saving Active Hearts, the American Heart Association, American Red Cross-NYS, Westchester Medical Center’s Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, other groups supporting this legislation, and my Senate colleague Shelley Mayer for supporting this life-saving reform."

“We know that when sudden cardiac events strike, the odds for survival are greatly improved when CPR is deployed and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are nearby,” said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO of WMCHealth Network. “As the founders of Project ADAM in New York where we work with area schools and sports teams on sudden cardiac arrest preparedness, we are delighted to partner on this bill with Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senator Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman Steve Otis, the American Heart Association and Damar Hamlin to make AEDs more widely available as well as equip, train and prepare others to join our cause of saving lives. The progress we’re making to raise awareness about sudden cardiac events in children is a testament to Alice Schoen and Dana Colasante, who co-founded Project ADAM here at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.”

Dana Colasante, Co-founder of Project ADAM New York at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital said,  “Governor Hochul signing Bill S7424 into law will strengthen the cardiac chain of survival to save lives. My husband had a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during our son’s soccer practice 10 years ago. He survived because there happened to be an ER doctor with his daughter’s team on an adjacent field and a parent was able to retrieve an automated external defibrillator (AED) from a nearby school that happened to be open on the weekend. The league was not prepared. I wanted to take the luck out of survival and joined forces with Alice Schoen after her son’s SCA to spread awareness on the signs and risks of SCA in children and how youth sports, schools, and camps can prepare with accessible AEDs and CPR/AED training. I am so grateful to Assemblyman Steve Otis and Senator Shelley Mayer for championing this life-saving legislation.”

Alice Schoen, Co-founder of Project ADAM New York at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital said, “I am grateful to Governor Hochul for signing Bill S7424 and to Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis for sponsoring it. My son had a sudden cardiac arrest almost six years ago during a high school varsity basketball game and he is alive today because of a spectator who performed CPR and an off-duty officer who ran to his police car to retrieve the AED that was used to save his life, despite the fact the school’s AED was located immediately outside the school gym. He was incredibly lucky. This family experience ignited my passion to educate communities about sudden cardiac arrest. Since Dana Colasante and I partnered together, we have been spreading awareness of the needed protocols, tools, and training to increase the likelihood that someone who experiences a sudden cardiac arrest will survive. This important legislation will help save lives.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) reported in 2018 that there are more than 356,000 out- of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the United States, nearly 90 percent of which are fatal. Death can result within minutes from cardiac arrest if proper steps-such as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm are not taken immediately. Data from 2019 shows that 38.3% of cases are witnessed by a layperson, and 12.7% by an EMS provider. Trained non-medical personnel can use AEDs, which are simplified and portable electronic medical devices, to treat a person in cardiac arrest using voice prompts, lights, and text messages to walk the responder through the steps. Sports-related SCAs account for 39% of SCAs in children ages 18 years old or younger.

This legislation went into effect immediately upon Governor Hochul’s signature on November 24, 2023.