Senators encourage Michigan schools to install defibrillators at athletic, community functions

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker introduced a resolution Wednesday urging school districts throughout Michigan to install automated external defibrillators (AED) at all athletic and community-sponsored events.

Senate Resolution 74 was prompted by the tragic events last spring in Fennville when star basketball player Wes Leonard suffered cardiac arrest and died after a state tournament playoff game.

“The untimely loss of Wes Leonard left a deep impact in the hearts and minds of Michiganders and was felt across the nation,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “The unfortunate reality is that his was not the first death due to sudden cardiac arrest nor will it be the last. Wes’s story serves as an important reminder that we must take every precaution we can to help keep our young student athletes safe.”

Sudden cardiac arrest affects even the most physically fit and active among the population. It can happen at any time and its symptoms often go unannounced until it’s too late. Having AED devices on location can help save lives as immediate medical intervention is often a matter of life and death.

The devices are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and staff training is neither costly nor time consuming. Having an AED plan in place could save a life.

“Even if having a defibrillator at a sporting event saves only one life, it is well worth the expense,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I fully support Senator Schuitmaker for sponsoring this vital measure.”

SR 74 will be referred to the Senate Committee on Education for consideration.