By Pat Loeb
TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – A New Jersey Senate committee, yesterday, approved legislation requiring that every school and sports camp in the state have a defibrillator near their playing fields, in case a student athlete goes in to cardiac arrest. The law was inspired by a cheerleader who died during practice, five years ago.
Janet Zilinski was just 11-years-old when she collapsed on a Warren Township athletic field, in August 2006. A school nurse started CPR immediately, but Janet died within hours.
Her parents believed her life might have been saved if a defibrillator had been available so they poured their grief into “Janet’s Law,” which was unanimously voted out of committee, after languishing for four years.
Janet’s mother, Karen, testified at the hearing, “If Janet had survived, she would have done great things in this world. I believe her life had a special meaning and it is for that reason I think she was given to us, so she could protect the other children in the state of NJ from sudden cardiac arrest.”
Zilinski says 37 children have gone into cardiac arrest in New Jersey, since her daughter’s death, and just six survived– all after being shocked with a defibrillator.