Life-Saving Legislation Signed into Law; NFL Donates 50 AEDs to Michigan schools

Dem bills strengthen community safety by requiring access to, training on defibrillators

Picture of Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit) standing behind a podium, speaking at the NFL Draft in Detroit.

Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit) speaks to the crowd about the recently signed AED legislation at the NFL Draft in Detroit, April 27, 2024.

LANSING, Mich., April 27, 2024 — Today, House Bills 5527 and 5528 — designed to prevent deaths due to sudden cardiac arrest in schools, including sporting events — were signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The bill package, introduced by state Reps. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming) and Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit), will improve school safety and save lives by requiring schools to develop cardiac emergency response plans and offer training and access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which are used to assist in the response to cardiac emergencies.

There are 23 states that have laws that require AEDs in schools, but those laws vary in the level of detail on the requirement of having AEDs on the property of schools and training for the use of AEDs. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a critical emergency resulting from a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system. Most people can be saved from SCA if it is treated in the first few minutes of the event with a shock from an AED.

“These AED bills will ultimately empower people to act more quickly in case of a sudden cardiac arrest event. With AEDs being readily available in schools, coupled with the proper training and certification for athletic coaches, lives will be saved. As a former collegiate and professional athlete, I know first-hand the toll playing football can take on the body. I’m thankful for the collaboration and advocacy of the NFL by supporting this new policy by donating 50 AEDs to schools across Michigan; together, we’re making a difference for Michiganders,” said Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit).

Speaker Tate is a former collegiate and professional athlete — he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Rams after graduating from Michigan State University.

Recent events highlight the need for education and full training for certain personnel in schools, like the athletic coach and staff to be prepared just in case. Protecting athletes during practice during extreme heat, for example, is another approach to lessen the chances of an SCA.

“Today is another big step in our ongoing work to keep people safe across Michigan. With the signing of this legislation, we’re ensuring that every school has the tools and the knowledge needed to save those who may suffer from a cardiac emergency,” Fitzgerald said.

Expanded access to AEDs can save the lives of many students — teachers, families, mentors and many others stand to benefit from this school safety measure. Parents, grandparents, coaches, administrators and other visitors who frequent sporting events also benefit from having these devices available. Having additional AEDs at sporting events and near classrooms will support those with risks of heart conditions.

Group picture behind a table that reads: State of Michigan, Governor. The group is holding a up a paper copy of the AED legislation.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the AED legislation into law, April 27 at the NFL Draft in Detroit. Pictured (l-r): NFL player Damar Hamilin, Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit), Governor Whitmer, Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming) and Speaker of the House Joe Tate.

“These bills also require appropriate training and certification for not only CPR but also now for AED. Every athletic coach will have the life-saving tools needed in case of an emergency. We are simply trying to put in measures to help save the lives of young athletes. About 2,000 young, seemingly healthy people under the age of 25 in the United States die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest. This new law can make a difference,” Carter said.

Along with the AED bills being signed into law by the governor today, the NFL donated 50 AED machines to public schools throughout the state.

“On behalf of the National Football League and the nearly 40 additional members of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, I applaud Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature for working together to advance this crucial, life-saving legislation,” said Brendon Plack, NFL senior vice president of public policy and government affairs. “These vital, evidence-based measures ensure that Michigan’s school communities are better equipped and prepared to respond to sudden cardiac arrests, if and when they occur.  The laws mark a victory for young people and their safety across the state.”