OKLAHOMA CITY – Updates to a bill named after Riley Boatwright, a Lexington Middle School student who died during a football game in September 2019, passed out of the House Common Education Committee today.
House Bill 1775, authored by Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, updates requirements for school boards in devising emergency action plans for all athletic events. Last year, Conley was the House author of SB1198, which created the Riley Boatwright Act and established the initial formation of such plans.
“The legislation we passed last year was a request from Riley’s family,” Conley said. “It is something they wished had been in place when their son was playing football, but their hope is that this will save the lives of other young people involved in athletics in their schools.”
HB 1775 renames the Riley Boatwright Act Riley’s Rule. It would require school boards, beginning in the 2021-22 school year, to coordinate with emergency medical providers in their area to create an Emergency Action Plan for all athletic facilities and events, including practices.
Conley said last year’s act required schools to have emergency medical plans for athletic events, but this year’s legislation strengthens language so schools know exactly what must be included in the plans. That was a request of Riley’s parents, Conley said.
An amendment to the bill specifies that schools don’t have to hire someone outside the district to prepare or manage the plan, but they do have to identify the person inside the district that will be responsible for administering the plan.
The amendment also specifies that if schools have a defibrillator everyone should know where it is located. In addition, the amendment removes the requirement that the plan be reviewed during a medical time-out prior to the start of all athletic games, instead allowing plans to be submitted digitally. Conley said she worked with the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration on the amended language of the bill.
Conley also thanked the Oklahoma Athletic Trainers Association, which proposed the language on the bill and strongly believes this language allows schools to work together with local emergency services to come up with a plan that best meets the needs of each community.
The Action Plan also shall:
- Include maps and directions with appropriate contact information for emergency medical services
- Define responsibilities for both medical and school officials
- Include a list of other medical equipment available
- Be distributed to all school officials involved in athletic activities
- Be rehearsed annually, prior to the start of the season, with school officials and local emergency medical providers
The bill passed the Common Education Committee with a vote of 14-0 and now is eligible to be considered by the entire House.