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NJ High Schools Preparing for New Safety Mandates

Michael Gaio

New Jersey high schools will soon have new rules in place aimed at keeping student-athletes safer.

Among the legislation that will take effect this fall is more strict physical screenings, precautions and education regarding cardiac screening and action plans for sudden cardiac arrest for high school athletes. As Athletic Business reported last month, Connecticut is considering similar legislation.

New Jersey will also have one other piece of legislation known as "Janet's Law." According to, Janet's Law will require all public and non-public schools to have an emergency action plan for sudden cardiac arrest as well as automated external defibrillators on site for athletic events. The AED must be within "reasonable proximity" of the athletic field or gym, which typically means it is retrievable within 90 seconds.

On Tuesday, News Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association officials met with state athletic directors to discuss the new rules.

As reports:

Among the issues, administrators said it may be challenging to require primary care doctors who give sports physicals to complete the new professional development module.

And regarding Janet’s Law, it’s not clear how many AED devices will be required on site at schools that have multiple athletic events going on at the same time, administrators said. They also wondered how to keep devices in close proximity to athletes who play golf or compete in cross-country.

The fear, administrators said, is the laws could open schools to more liability.

“The reason why the law is important is because it protects kids,” said Montgomery High athletic director Tony Maselli, who’s helped disseminate information about the new protocol. “That’s the first thing and the most important thing. It’s all for the safety of the kids.”

While that can't be argued, are their other measures schools could be taking? AB guest contributor Mike Hopper recently argued that the best way to keep student-athletes safe isn't always legislation, simply more athletic trainers.

Janet's Law was passed in 2012 and becomes effective on Sept. 1. State officials are also hopeful the other safety mandates are in place by September.


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