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Athlete Heat Stroke Bill Backed In House

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
(U.S. Army photo by Jennifer Caprioli)

With the bill sponsor saying heat-stroke deaths are “100 percent preventable,” a House panel Thursday unanimously approved a measure aimed at helping high-school athletes avoid heat strokes.

The bill (HB 7011), sponsored by Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, is one step from going to the full House after getting approval from the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.

It would require the Florida High School Athletic Association to take a series of steps, such as establishing requirements for “cooling zones,” where overheated athletes could be immersed in ice water.

“As a former athlete, I think this is way overdue,” Rep. James Bush, D-Miami, said of the bill. Bush and other speakers, however, raised questions about schools facing additional costs to comply with the requirements.

Massullo, a dermatologist, argued that the costs would be relatively low and could be absorbed by schools and districts. “Heat stroke is a condition that, if we address and save one life, what is the value of that?” Massullo said. The bill must clear the Education Committee before it could go to the full House.