HARRISBURG, Pa. — A new bill is headed to the Pennsylvania Senate floor, in honor of a King’s College student who died of sudden cardiac arrest. Senate Bill 836, or Peyton’s Law, is based on legislation that was just enacted in Texas.
Julie Walker is a Penn State fan, but instead of cheering for a team, the crowd at the State Capitol in Harrisburg was cheering on Senate Bill 836, also known as Peyton’s Law, in honor of Julie’s daughter. She was 19 years old, studying to be a physician assistant at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre when she died six years ago of sudden cardiac arrest, also known as SCA.
“The education committee just voted on Peyton’s Law and it is going to be pushed to the Senate floor, so I realized there was no stress, no pressure, just a fun, incredible day,” Walker said.
Peyton’s law, sponsored by Senator Mike Regan of the Harrisburg area, expands on an act from 2012 that required information to be provided to student-athletes about SCA. The foundation says it’s the number one killer of student-athletes in the U.S., and the number two medical cause of death of people under age 25.
Cardiac issues can be detected in an electrocardiogram, and this law would require notification of student-athletes and their parents that the test can be part of their standard physical.
It’s modeled after a similar bill just passed in Texas, shepherded through by the Stephens family, who lost their son Cody. Monday would have been his birthday.
“This is preventable. This is preventable by a simple ECG test, 86 percent of the cases of SCA can be detected with a five-minute, $20 test that the Walker Foundation is giving,” Scott Stephens said.
“Their hard work in Texas really streamlined the bill, made it more presentable. We took it and I like to say Pennsylvania-ized it, got support from Republicans and Democrats,” said Senator Mike Regan, (R) Cumberland County.
It’s a law that could possibly have saved the life of Gregory Moyer of Shawnee on Delaware. We spotted his mother Rachel in the crowd. Gregory died of SCA on the basketball court 15 years ago in the Poconos.
“We continue to give AEDs in to the community, 49 states out of 50, and by December 2 we’ll be in our 50th state. Let the beat go on,” Rachel Moyer said.
Julie Walker intends to do just that, in her daughter’s memory, but so that other families in the Commonwealth don’t suffer the same fate.