Lindsay’s Law is about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in youth athletes. This law went into effect in 2017. SCA is the leading cause of death in student athletes 19 years of age or younger. SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. This cuts off blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. SCA is fatal if not treated immediately.
“Youth” covered under Lindsay’s Law are all athletes 19 years of age or younger that wish to practice for or compete in athletic activities organized by a school or youth sports organization. Lindsay’s Law applies to all public and private schools and all youth sports organizations for athletes aged 19 years or younger whether or not they pay a fee to participate or are sponsored by a business or nonprofit. This includes:
- All athletic activities including interscholastic athletics, any athletic contest or competition sponsored by or
associated with a school
- All cheerleading, club sports and school affiliated organizations including noncompetitive cheerleading
- All practices, interschool practices and scrimmages
Any of these things may cause SCA:
- Structural heart disease. This may or may not be present from birth
- Electrical heart disease. This is a problem with the heart’s electrical system that controls the heartbeat
- Situational causes. These may be people with completely normal hearts who are either are hit in the chest or
develop a heart infection
The youth athlete who faints or passes out before, during, or after an athletic activity MUST be removed from the activity.
Before returning to the activity, the youth athlete must be seen by a health care professional and cleared in writing.
If the youth athlete’s biological parent, sibling or child has had a SCA, then the youth athlete must be removed from activity. Before returning to the activity, the youth athlete must be seen by a health care professional and cleared in writing. Any young athlete with any of these warning signs cannot participate in practices, interschool practices, scrimmages or competition until cleared by a health care professional.
Other reasons to be seen by a healthcare professional would be a heart murmur, high blood pressure, or prior heart
evaluation by a physician.
Lindsay’s Law lists the health care professionals who may evaluate and clear youth athletes. They are a physician (MD or DO), a certified nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse midwife. For school athletes, a physician’s assistant or licensed athletic trainer may also clear a student. That person may refer the youth and family to another health care provider for further evaluation. Clearance must be provided in writing to the school or sports official before the athlete can return to the activity.
Get more information on Lindsay's Law and download the parent/athlete signature form here.