COLUMBUS (AP) — A former high school football coach who is now an Ohio state senator is calling for more coaches to receive training on recognizing possible heart conditions.
Cliff Hite, who coached Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at Findlay High School, plans to introduce a bill requiring that school coaches receive training on cardiac conditions at least once every three years.
“I wish I had known then what I know now,” said Hite, now a Republican state senator from northwestern Ohio. “Thank God, I didn’t lose a kid. I’m just amazed now. When you look back, when I coached for 30 years, I didn’t lose a kid. But I could have.”
Hite said he initially believed that if a student athlete showed signs of weakness on the field, he may have pushed that student even harder.
The bill also would mandate schools provide information on potential symptoms and warning signs.
Coaches would be forced to remove students whenever they suspect a problem and that student would have to then be cleared by a cardiologist.
An estimated one of every 100 student athletes are believed to have an undetected cardiac condition.
“As a society we’ve taken measures to protect our kids’ heads, but what about their hearts?” asked Lindsay Davis, a former Miss Ohio whose own heart condition initially went undiagnosed when she was a young ballerina.