Honoring Tanner

Overbey guides Senate passage of bill to equip gyms with AEDs

In January, the Friendsville Optimist Club honored the memory of Tanner Jameson during a basketball game by retiring his jersey. From left are Alvin Jennett; Bill Pyle; Wayne McCloud; Rhonda Harrell, Tanner's mother; Ed Dockery; and Beth Pyle.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

In January, the Friendsville Optimist Club honored the memory of Tanner Jameson during a basketball game by retiring his jersey. From left are Alvin Jennett; Bill Pyle; Wayne McCloud; Rhonda Harrell, Tanner's mother; Ed Dockery; and Beth Pyle.

State Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) has spearheaded passage of legislation in the State Senate to help ensure that school gyms are equipped with automatic external defibrillators (AED). Overbey said having AEDs on school properties will dramatically reduce the fatality rate due to unexpected cardiac arrest.

“I am very pleased that this bill won unanimous approval in our State Senate,” said Overbey. “I am also pleased that it was amended to be named in memory of Tanner Lee Jameson, recognizing his life and the efforts his parents have made to save lives by placing defibrillators in schools across the region.”

Jameson died on June 26, 2009, when he collapsed during his middle school basketball game. Since that time, his mother, Rhonda Harrill, has made it her mission to ensure that AEDs are accessible during emergencies on school property. It also promoted Harrill to bring the idea for legislation to Senator Overbey, and Representatives Bob Ramsey and Joe McCord.

According the American Heart Association “when CPR is performed correctly and an AED is used, survival chances almost triple compared to those who do not receive CPR or an AED.” While most school-aged kids are not prone to cardiac episodes, many school staff members, parents, and visitors who attend school functions may be. From 2001-2005, five students and 16 adults suffered cardiac arrest while they were on school grounds.

Senate Bill 2505 by Overbey requires that gyms are the first place a school would place an automated external defibrillator (AED) device, since they are the most common gathering place for events, particularly involving athletics. It also requires that they comply with current law in regards to instructing faculty members on the use of AEDs and CPR.

“Hopefully, this legislation will help avert another tragedy,” added Overbey.

The bill is pending action in the House Finance Ways and Means Committee where it will be under consideration next week.

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