Just when more momentum was building behind what is called “Cody’s Law” in Texas, a worldwide pandemic struck.
Regardless, Scott Stephens still sees a lot of positives for his fight to get more states behind what is also known as House Bill 76 in the state – where potential athletes get their physicals and will provide every student in Texas to have the option of having an electrocardiogram or ECG heart screening as part of his or her athletic physical exam.
“Texas is the only state that has the law so far,” Stephens said. “There are seven states that have a bill that are going through the process at last count. Pennsylvania is the farthest along and they passed it all the way through the senate. The other six states that have bills that are working.”
Those six states are California, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey and New York which have introduced some form of the Texas bill and its literature. Despite only one state passing a bill focusing on this issue, Stephens is pleased with the momentum the movement has gotten.
“It’s got great traction,” he said. “It passed in 2019, we finished school, were out of school, came back and then seven states had started a bill, I was ecstatic. It’s a process, it will build momentum. Just like when the sideline concussion test came out of Washington state, it swept across the country in four or five years, but the first year was a lot slower than the fourth year.”
The law was named after Cody Stephens, Scott’s son, who died in his sleep in 2012 of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, was only weeks away from graduating from Crosby High School.
The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation, which was formed to partner with schools to implement a program of ECG testing and provide information to the public.
“We were all poised for a big, can be visited at spring screening season and now everything is on hold,” Stephens said. “I am sure we are going to be OK in the fall, but I haven’t heard how schools are going to address that. We are ready to screen. We have five screen experts across the state on our payroll.
“March, April, may make up our big screening season, but we aren’t screening anyone right now. One of the sad parts is we will lose some students we would have found otherwise because we aren’t going to screen them.”
According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, the affliction is a leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting more than 356,000 adults outside of hospitals each year, while more than 7,000 youth under the age of 18 experience SCA in the same time frame. Most young victims are male (90 percent) and one competitive athlete dies every three days due to SCA. Over 50 percent of these young males are black, according to Boston Scientific.