FRANKFORT — A bill intended to make Kentucky students safer when they're playing football and other sports cleared the House Education Committee Tuesday morning.
House Bill 383 would require that all Kentucky high school athletics coaches be trained annually in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators, devices that can save lives in cardiac arrest cases.
An amended version of the bill, which won unanimous support from the committee, also would encourage, but not require, Kentucky school boards to make defibrillators available at all athletic events and practices. Boards of education would be required to place defibrillators in each school, if funding for the devices becomes available from government or other sources.
The devices cost $1,000 and up.
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Another provision would mandate that "ice pools" be available for players at outdoor practices or games whenever the temperature exceeds 94 degrees. Air quality also would have to be considered in determining whether outdoor sports activities should be held.
Automated external defibrillators are electronic devices that can determine whether a patient's heart is in arrest and then deliver a lifesaving electrical shock to restore a proper heartbeat. The latest models can be used with relatively little training.
Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins of Shively filed HB 383 in response to the death of Max Gilpin, a 15-year-old football player at Louisville's Pleasure Ridge Park High School, who died in August after collapsing during an outdoor practice in 94-degree heat.
The Pleasure Ridge football coach, David Stinson, later was indicted on a charge of reckless homicide. It's thought to be the first time that a high school football coach has ever been charged in connection with a practice death.
Another measure approved by the committee, House Bill 409, would require that all Kentucky students entering their second year of school receive screenings for dyslexia.
The bill, which would kick in with the 2010-11 school year, also mandates that teachers receive professional development training in how to teach dyslexic youngsters.
It is estimated that 15-20 percent of all Kentucky students have some degree of dyslexia, a serious learning disability that can cripple academic achievement. There is no cure, but students can overcome dyslexia and excel academically through proper training and teaching techniques.