Introduced Version Senate Bill 488 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

WEST virginia Legislature

2016 regular session


Senate Bill 488

By Senators Takubo, Stollings and Plymale

[Introduced February 3, 2016;
Referred to the Committee on Education.

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2-25b, relating to establishing protocols and protections to limit and treat injury to youth athletes and students; creating Leland’s Law; setting out legislative findings; establishing requirement for an emergency action plan at all high school and middle school athletic activities; defining certain terms; requiring promulgation of certain rules; and setting forth certain minimum provisions of rules.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2-25b, to read as follows:


§18-2-25b.  Management of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in athletics at West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission member high school and middle school.

(a) The requirements set forth in this section shall be cited as Leland’s Law.

(b) The Legislature makes the following findings:

(1) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick making it harder for the heart to pump blood.  It is a very common condition and can affect people of any age. About one out of every five hundred people have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It affects men and women equally.  It is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young people, including young athletes.

(2) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often goes undiagnosed because many people with the disease have few, if any, symptoms and can lead normal lives with no significant problems. However, in a small number of people the thickened heart muscle can cause shortness of breath, chest pain or problems in the heart’s electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms. It is also genetic and can be passed on from generation to generation. Younger people are likely to have a more severe form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

(3) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be triggered by physical activity which may trigger dangerous arrhythmias.  Because the disease has few symptoms and due to its link to physical activity, student athletes are particularly at risk.  In fact some experts find it is a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Receiving immediate treatment with an adverse event is essential.

(4) Most people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have a low risk for sudden cardiac death. However, it is important to identify the small number of patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy who do have a higher risk for sudden cardiac death so preventive measures can be taken. 

(5) The type of treatment prescribed depends on a number of factors, including the age of the person diagnosed.  Treatment is aimed at minimizing or preventing symptoms and reducing the risk of complications, such as heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Treatment may include risk identification and regular follow-up, lifestyle changes, medications and procedures as needed.

(c) For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Emergency action plan” means a plan requiring emergency action to be taken at any sporting event, game or practice that would require at least two designated individuals to notify emergency responders; two designated individuals to perform compression only cardiopulmonary resuscitation and two designed individuals to be properly trained to obtain and use an automated external defibrillator should an interscholastic athlete become unresponsive at the event, game, scrimmage or practice. 

(2) “Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” means a disease of the muscle of the heart in which a portion of the myocardium is thickened without any obvious cause, creating functional impairment of the cardiac muscle.

(3) “Interscholastic athlete” means any athlete who is participating in interscholastic athletics at a high school or middle school that is a member of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

(d) The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission shall promulgate rules pursuant to section twenty-five of this article that address hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in interscholastic athletes: Provided, That prior to state board approval and notwithstanding the exemption provided in section three, article one, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the state board shall submit the rule to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability pursuant to section nine, article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.

(e) The rules required by this section shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Development of an athletic participation and parental consent form with an accompanying physician form that includes a history of sudden death and known relatives who may have diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;

(2) A medical screening mechanism on interscholastic athletes who have indicated a family history of sudden death or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that includes testing for appropriate heart murmur indications during moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway known medically as a Valsalva;

(3) Criteria for development and mandatory elements of an emergency action plan at all sporting events, games, scrimmages and practices.  This plan shall include at a minimum a six-person team which may include coaches and students.  This team shall include:

(A) Two designated persons to notify first responders of an unresponsive interscholastic athlete with knowledge of the nearest available telephone;

(B) Two designated persons properly trained in compression only cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and

(C) Two designated persons who have access to obtain and are properly trained to use an automated external defibrillator;

(4) Procedures and timeframes for submission of the emergency action plan to the school principal prior to commencement of the season of any sport.  These procedures and time frames shall include:

(A) Written verification to the principal of the school, from the coach, director or other person in charge of the team or activity that a plan has been prepared and will be implemented within the first two weeks of commencement of the season; and

(B) Procedures for cessation of the activity or activities if a plan is not in place; 

(5) Any other requirements necessary to accomplish the goals of this section.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require rules to be developed by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission to manage hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and to require an emergency action plan at all athletic activities.  The bill creates “Leland’s Law”.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.




            On page three, section twenty-five- b, lines fifty-seven and fifty-eight, by striking out all of paragraph (A) and inserting in lieu thereof a new paragraph, designated paragraph (A), to read as follows:

            “(A) Two designated persons, with knowledge of the nearest available telephone, to notify first responders of an unresponsive interscholastic athlete;”;


            On page three, section twenty-five-b, line sixty-two, after the word “defibrillator” by changing the semicolon to a comma and inserting the words “ if available;”.


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