June 1-7 is CPR and AED Awareness Week, and it’s the perfect time to share some good news regarding heart health and our kids. At the end of April, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that requires all high school grads to have CPR training. The man behind the bill? Shawn Sima, dad to Lexi Sima, who thankfully survived sudden cardiac arrest at just 16 years old.
“In February 2016 my ‘healthy’ 16-year-old life-long athletic daughter went for a run that changed the trajectory of my life forever. My Lexi was an Air Force brat, a life-long cheerleader, and a great softball player from the time she was 4 years old. On the fateful night of Feb 2, 2016, we got the worst call for any parent…Our daughter had a “heart attack” (it was Sudden Cardiac Arrest which is different) while running on the treadmill at a gym and was not responsive—she was dead. We made it to the gym to see the paramedic team going in. What we didn’t know was that non-medical gym bystanders had already done CPR and used an AED to bring her back—10 minutes before the Paramedics came),” recalls Shawn in an interview with The Local Moms Network.
Their family’s near tragedy wasn’t uncommon, unfortunately—cardiac arrest is the leading cause of on campus deaths in the United States. After Lexi recovered, Shawn joined the Board of Who We Play for, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating preventable SCA through EKG screening, and has been advocating ever since.
Thirty-eight states already require CPR training for its students. If Governor Ron Desantis signs the bill, Florida will become the next, and requirements will be put into place by Fall 2021.