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Bill attempting to help students who may go into Cardiac Arrest signed into law, Parents react

Posted at 5:24 PM, May 04, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law today aimed towards helping students who may go into Sudden Cardiac Arrest while on school property.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating and can lead to death if a person does not get help immediately.

Senate Bill 369 was signed into law, along with 90 other bills, on Thursday.

A similar bill passed easily out of the Senate last session but ran out of time in the House.

The bill would require an AED to be present and accessible within three minutes of any school activity.

Schools would also need to create action plans with training and drills so that people know where the devices are located and how to use them.

This session, it ended up passing overwhelmingly in both chambers.

Julie West has been a strong advocate of the bill since day one. She has spent hours testifying at the Statehouse in hopes of having the bill passed.

Her son, Jake West, died after going into cardiac arrest during football practice in 2013. An AED may have been able to restart Jake's heart on the practice field that day, but it was not accessible.

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West stayed at the statehouse until the early morning hours on the last day of the legislative session to find out the fate of SB 369.

"When I walked out of the statehouse, actually it was Friday morning around 1 a.m., I walked out and I had a mixture of emotions, but I think the biggest one I felt was relief," West said.

West says she hopes these changes will help other families not have to go through the heartbreak and loss that hers did after losing Jake. She says she knows Jake is proud of her work on this issue.

“He’s always been, I think, one of my biggest fans. Since he was a little boy, we had that mother-son relationship. I without a doubt feel his presence and he’s looking down saying, ‘Good job, Mom, I’m very proud of you and let’s keep going,” West said.

Jake West

Now that the bill has been signed by Holcomb, it will become law on July 1. Parents will start noticing changes and action plans in place at their child’s school and extracurricular activities this coming school year.

West continues to testify and raise awareness about these life-saving devices through her foundation, Play For Jake. For more information, click here.

For the full list of bills Holcomb signed into law, click here.