Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation Partners with Senator Robert Menendez and Representative Lois Capps and Bill Pascrell on Comprehensive Legislation to Protect Young Athletes from Sudden Death

Tenafly, NJ — July 31, 2014 — The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) is proud to partner with Senator Robert Menendez, Representatives Lois Capps and Bill Pascrell, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association on a new bill that will protect student athletes from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the top cause of death on school property. The Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act will bring awareness to youth athlete safety and encourage the development of best practices to prevent, document and address both youth athlete cardiac emergencies and injuries.

Each year, more than seven million high school students participate in school sports. This represents millions of American families expecting their children to be safe on the playing field. Many times a student athlete will make headlines for collapsing on the field from a cardiac related event. The leading cause of SCA in the young is cardiomyopathy — a chronic heart disease where the heart muscle becomes abnormally enlarged, thickened or stiffened. Of those who fall victim to SCA, only five percent survive.

Getting more children with cardiomyopathy identified, properly diagnosed and treated is a priority for CCF — a national organization founded by Lisa Yue, a mother who lost two young children to the disease. Determined to not have another family endure what she suffered, she formed CCF, which is dedicated to research, education and awareness of all forms of cardiomyopathy in children. CCF is launching the first Children’s Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month this September.

“I applaud Senator Menendez and Representatives Capps and Pascrell for tackling the important issue of keeping our children safe while participating in athletic activities," said Lisa Yue, founding executive director of CCF. “This comprehensive legislation is important because it will include provisions for identifying children with life-threatening heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy who may be at risk of sudden cardiac death.”

The SAFE PLAY Act will provide educational resources to increase awareness of cardiomyopathy and other high-risk childhood cardiac conditions, as well as provide grants for cardiac training and equipment in public schools and set guidelines for emergency action plans for athletics. It also will set requirements for the prevention and treatment of concussions, set heat advocacy and heat acclimatization guidelines for secondary school athletics, provide guidelines on safe energy drink use by youth athletes, and expand resources related to youth athletic safety.

“The safety of our youth comes first – in school, at home and while participating in extracurricular activities,” said Senator Menendez. “As students play their hearts out on athletic fields, we must do everything in our power to prevent injuries. I am pleased that Reps. Pascrell and Capps joined me on this common-sense legislation to keep our students safe while they stay healthy, competitive and well-rounded by playing sports.”

“Our children’s safety should be a top priority for everyone involved in youth athletics and in our schools,” said Representative Lois Capps. “While it is important to encourage teamwork, competition, and fitness in our youth, it is equally important to provide a safe atmosphere for kids to compete. That is why I have introduced the SAFE PLAY Act, commonsense legislation that will go a long way toward protecting our children. I am also pleased that my Teaching Children to Save Lives Act, an important bill to provide critical resources for schools to increase CPR and AED skills, is a part of this broader youth safety bill. I’d like to thank Lisa Yue, Founding Executive Director of the Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation, for her tireless advocacy to reduce sudden cardiac arrest deaths in our country. ”

“As the leading national organization representing athletic trainers, health professionals that are responsible for the prevention and treatment of injuries to athletes at all levels of sport and play, we applaud Senator Menendez and Representatives Capps and Pascrell for their leadership on the introduction of this comprehensive legislation to protect youth athletes,” added National Athletic Trainers’ Association President Jim Thornton.”

About the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation

The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) is a national organization focused on finding causes and cures for all forms of pediatric cardiomyopathy, the leading cause of heart transplants and sudden cardiac arrest in children. CCF started in 2002 with one family’s determination to call attention to this poorly understood heart disease and to take action on the lack of medical progress and public awareness. Since then, CCF has grown into a global community of families, physicians and scientists and has raised more than $8 million for research and education initiatives, family support, and advocacy and awareness measures.

Media Contact:

Karyn Ravin: 212-829-0150 x1;