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Wimberly, Reynolds-Jackson & Pinkin Bill Requiring Schools to Develop Emergency Action Plan in Case of Serious Sports Injury Becomes Law

Prioritizing the health, safety and security of every New Jersey student-athlete, a bill requiring schools to develop and implement an emergency action plan in the event of a serious or potentially life-threatening sports-related injury was signed into law by the Governor on Thursday.

The legislation (A-4723), now law, is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Nancy Pinkin, and would apply to all public school districts and nonpublic schools with grades six through 12.

“In instances where schools are equipped with the training and procedures to manage injury there are almost always better outcomes,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “After years in high school athletics myself, I know that injury is sometimes inevitable and that inevitability means we have duty to be prepared for any type of crisis at all times. Our students deserve the best of the best, inside and outside of the classroom, under this law we are holding schools to that promise.”

The enactment of this law follows last year’s incident involving New Jersey native Braeden Bradforth, who died suddenly from exertional heat stroke after one of his first football practices at his Kansas community college.

“Playing and enjoying the sport you love cannot and must not be a potential death sentence,” said Reynolds-Jacksons (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “New Jersey will continue to lead on student health and safety, and we will continue to do so every single day.”

Under the law, the emergency action plan established will be required to include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • a list of employees, team coaches, and licensed athletic trainers in each school trained in first aid or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation;
  • identification of the employees, team coaches, or licensed athletic trainers in each school who will be responsible for carrying out the emergency action plan, with a description of their respective responsibilities;
  • identification of the activity location or venue;
  • identification of equipment and supplies needed to respond to the emergency, including their locations; and
  • a description of proper procedures to be followed after a student sustains a serious sports-related injury including, but not limited to, responding to the injured student, summoning emergency medical care, assisting emergency responders in getting to the injured student, and documenting the actions taken during the emergency.

“Sports function to enhance the educational experience of our students,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Making sure our schools are equipped to handle injury whether it’s a broken bone, concussion or a heart attack is about safeguarding the collective well-being of our student body and maintaining the trust between schools, students and their parents.”

The law further provides for the emergency action plan to be reviewed and rehearsed by individuals responsible for its execution on an annual basis, with updates being made as necessary.

It takes effect immediately and will apply at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.