TENAFLY, N.J., Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Heart Month is a time to increase awareness of heart disease, and the Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) is putting the focus on pediatric cardiomyopathy, a chronic and potentially life-threatening heart disease affecting how the heart muscle pumps blood. During National Heart Month, CCF is proud to partner with Senator Robert Menendez, Representatives Lois Capps and Bill Pascrell, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association on a bill protecting student athletes from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which is commonly associated with cardiomyopathy.
Each year, more than seven million high school students participate in school sports. Many times a student athlete will make headlines for collapsing on the field from an underlying heart condition such as cardiomyopathy. Symptoms are not always present with cardiomyopathy, and children who are not diagnosed are unknowingly at risk of sudden cardiac death. However, if at-risk children are identified earlier, premature death can be prevented.
The reintroduction of the Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act includes important provisions to protect children's hearts and to educate parents, schools, and health professionals about higher risk cardiac conditions such as cardiomyopathy. The bill will provide educational resources encouraging families to evaluate their cardiac history, check for cardiomyopathy symptoms and seek medical screening if necessary. The bill also provides grants for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in public schools, and sets guidelines for emergency action plans in case of an adverse cardiac event.
"As we celebrate National Heart Month, I am thankful we have congressional champions like Senator Menendez and Reps. Capps and Pascrell who are helping to protect our children during physical activities," says Lisa Yue, CCF's founding executive director. "The SAFE PLAY Act includes both primary and secondary prevention measures for sudden cardiac death, which can potentially save many young lives."
Properly diagnosing and treating more children with cardiomyopathy is a priority for CCF, a national organization founded by Lisa Yue, a mother who lost two young children to the disease. CCF focuses on research, education, family support and awareness of all forms of cardiomyopathy affecting children.
"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."
During National Heart Month, CCF also is initiating a 50-state awareness challenge, which includes fundraisers, community events, and sharing facts about the disease. For more information, visit www.childrenscardiomyopathy.org or follow CCF on Facebook and Twitter @CCFheartkids.
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 $9 million for research and education initiatives, family support, and advocacy and awareness measures.
Contact: Sheila Gibbons
Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation
866.808.2873, ext 902
SOURCE Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation