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Smart Heart Sports Coalition

Smart Heart Sports Coalition

On March 27, 2023, the National Football League, along with other major sports organizations and leading patient and health advocacy groups, announced the formation of The Smart Heart Sports Coalition, to advocate for all 50 states to adopt evidence-based policies that will help prevent fatal outcomes from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) among high school students.

The coalition is advocating for the implementation of three best practice policies to prevent death from Sudden Cardiac Arrest:

  1. Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) for each high school athletic venue that are widely distributed, posted, rehearsed, and updated annually;
  2. Clearly marked automated external defibrillator (AEDs) at each athletic venue or within 1-3 minutes of each venue where high school practices or competitions are held; and,
  3. CPR and AED education for coaches.

"I'm honored to support the NFL's work to encourage all 50 states to adopt policies to protect youth. This work pushes forward the idea that every high school should have an athletic emergency plan, coaches should be CPR and AED trained and athletic fields should have clearly marked AEDs within a moment's reach. These efforts can help save the lives of student athletes impacted by sudden cardiac arrest."

- Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, founder of The Chasing M's Foundation

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)?

According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating. It occurs suddenly, and often without warning, when an electrical malfunction in the heart causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart can't pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. When this occurs, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim doesn't receive treatment.

Policy Advocacy in the United States

Below is a map indicating how many policies each state has passed.


Get CPR and AED education and training

Need help finding training resources? Click the links below to find training and educational guides on CPR and AEDs.

AED Best Practices (Parent Heart Watch)

Find a CPR course near you (American Red Cross or Parent Heart Watch)

Promote policy in your state

Want to introduce the three-life saving policies in your state? Click on the link below to preview model legislation.

Take the AED in 3 Challenge

Participate in the challenge find out if an AED is located close enough for you to effectively respond to a cardiac emergency at your venue.

Support the coalition and its mission

Share the one sheet linked below to spread awareness about the coalition and the three life-saving policies that the members are promoting in all 50 states.

Featured Videos

Recent News

Governor Jim Justice Signs Bill into Law, West Virginia Now Has All Three Policies

Governor Jim Justice Signs Bill into Law, West Virginia Now Has All Three Policies

On behalf of the National Football League and the nearly 40 additional members of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, I applaud Governor Justice and the legislature for enacting this crucial, life-saving legislation," said Kenneth Edmonds, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the National Football League. "The new law ensures that schools have in place three, evidence-based core elements to effectively respond to sudden cardiac arrests or other life-threatening, cardiac emergencies – an effective, and rehearsed plan of action; AEDs at or nearby school athletic venues or events; and CPR and AED-use training for key personnel, including coaches. This law marks a victory for young people across the state by making school communities safer and more resilient.

Pictured to the left: Gryffin Cavender, a sudden cardiac arrest survivor, signs the bill with Governor Justice