Syracuse, NY – Senator Rachel May’s (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) bill to allow people who can’t be certified in CPR to coach high school sports if another coach or staff is present who is certified in CPR has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.
The legislation, S8615A, allows a person who is unable to complete a first aid knowledge and skills course, due to a physical disability, to coach athletics if the school employs another person who does have a valid first aid certificate of completion and is present at all times during an athletic event.
Josh Virgil has championed this legislation throughout the entire process. Virgil has been an assistant coach for the Fabius-Pompey Falcons for over two decades. He’s always dreamed of being a team’s head coach. However, injuries from a car crash have prevented his plan because he can’t physically perform CPR. With the possibility of new opportunities because of this legislation, Josh isn’t sure what’s next for his coaching career, but now he does have the option to be a head coach if he chooses to do so.
“I would like to thank everyone that has helped get this bill started, passed, and officially signed. This opens the door for so many of us to be able to do what we love. It also shows that anything is possible as long as you believe and do not take anything for granted. Thank you all again. I’m looking forward to the next step,” said Josh Virgil.
“This is an exciting day for New Yorkers who would like to coach high school sports but can’t physically perform CPR and other first aid. Of course, the safety of players is paramount; this legislation maintains high safety standards and allows people with disabilities to coach high school sports. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this bill and helping to ensure New York is a state where people with disabilities have the opportunity to achieve all of their goals. I was honored to sponsor this legislation in the Senate and am excited for the many potential coaches out there and the players they’ll mentor and inspire,” said Senator Rachel May
“Today, New York is moving the needle forward in the fight to expand equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Under current state law, high school sports head coaching positions need to be CPR-certified in order to serve in this position. This policy, rightfully, looks out for a student’s health in an emergency. However, it deters a qualified person with disabilities to serve in this position. To help break down barriers for New Yorkers with disabilities, I am proud to have sponsored this bill allowing qualified disabled persons to have the opportunity to serve as a sports head coach by simply being paired with a CPR-certified person during all athletic activities. This commonsense legislative measure will allow people like Fabius native and assistant coach Josh Virgil, to serve as head coach in the Fabius-Pompey School District and will continue to inspire future generations of student athletes.” -Assemblyman Al Stirpe, 127th District, Assembly sponsor of the bill.