Lindsay’s Law: Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Youth Athletes

Please watch the following video regarding the Lindsey Law and complete the form below.

In accordance with this law, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Cardiology and other stakeholders jointly developed guidelines and other relevant materials to inform and educate students and youth athletes participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity, their parents, and their coaches about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest.

What is Lindsay’s Law? Lindsay’s Law is about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in youth athletes. It covers all athletes 19 years or younger

who practice for or compete in athletic activities. Activities may be organized by a school or youth sports organization.

Which youth athletic activities are included in Lindsay’s law?

  • Athletics at all schools in Ohio (public and non-public)
  • Any athletic contest or competition sponsored by or associated with a school
  • All interscholastic athletics, including all practices, interschool practices and scrimmages • All youth sports organizations
  • All cheerleading and club sports, including noncompetitive cheerleading

What is SCA? SCA is when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. This cuts off blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. People with SCA will die if not treated immediately. SCA can be caused by 1) a structural issue with the heart, OR 2) a heart electrical problem which controls the heartbeat, OR 3) a situation such as a person who is hit in the chest or a gets a heart infection.

What is a warning sign for SCA? If a family member died suddenly before age 50, or a family member has cardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome, Marfan syndrome or other rhythm problems of the heart.

What symptoms are a warning sign of SCA? A young athlete may have these things with exercise:

  • Chest pain/discomfort • Unexplained fainting/near fainting or dizziness
  • Unexplained tiredness, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Unusually fast or racing heart beats

What happens if an athlete experiences syncope or fainting before, during or after a practice, scrimmage, or competitive play? The coach MUST remove the youth athlete from activity immediately. The youth athlete MUST be seen and cleared by a health care provider before returning to activity. This written clearance must be shared with a school or sports official.

What happens if an athlete experiences any other warning signs of SCA? The youth athlete should be seen by a health care professional.

Who can evaluate and clear youth athletes? A physician (MD or DO), a certified nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife. For school athletes, a physician’s assistant or licensed athletic trainer may also clear a student. That person may refer the youth to another health care provider for further evaluation.

What is needed for the youth athlete to return to the activity? There must be clearance from the health care provider in writing. This must be given to the coach and school or sports official before return to activity.

All youth athletes and their parents/guardians must view the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) video about Sudden Cardiac Arrest, review the ODH SCA handout and then sign and return this form.