Former Miss Ohio continues mission to educate young athletes, parents, coaches with ‘Lindsay’s Law’
“When I set out to pass Lindsay’s Law, I said this will all be worth it if it just helps one child, and I think it’s definitely surpassed that,” said Lakewood native Lindsey Davis.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There are moments in our lives that change our perspective, giving us a new purpose for living.
For Lindsey Davis, her moment came in her younger years, as a ballet dancer.
“They just kind of looked at this thin athlete that was literally the epitome of health and thought that there was no way that I could be concealing something much more serious,” Davis said.
Before she became Miss Ohio in 2011, the Lakewood native was the All-American girl.
Along with participating in numerous pageants, ballet was Davis’ first love. But after several incidents where she passed out during class, she knew there was an issue.
“It wasn’t until after I collapsed after dance class that I was taken to the hospital, and they found out that I had a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy,” Davis said.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that causes the heart muscle to thicken, which can make it harder to pump blood. It is associated with Sudden Cardiac Death, which is the leading cause of death in athletes under 35.
Dr. Elizabeth Kaufman, a cardiologist with MetroHealth, says Lindsey’s case is rare but it could have serious consequences if left unchecked.
“You know, fainting is pretty common, but passing out while running down the basketball court is a red flag,” said Dr. Kaufman. “So, you want to know if there’s been any family members with this, with an unexplained early sudden death. You also want to know whether your child has had any worrisome symptoms like that.”
With a new lease on life, Davis used her experience and platform to create change.
In 2017, she spearheaded the creation and passage of “Lindsey’s Law,” which requires parents and guardians of student athletes under age 19 who play an organized sport in Ohio to be provided with an informational handout on the risks and warning signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
The law also requires both the athlete and their parents or guardians to sign a form acknowledging they have been made aware of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the risk by playing in their respective sport.
“I wanted to put legislation into place to make sure that everyone around our children, the coaches, the parents and even the students themselves were educated on the signs and symptoms of an underlying heart condition, and if anyone had any of those symptoms, they could be screened for a heart condition,” said Davis. “They could be removed from play until we knew it was safe for them to play again.”
Dr. Kaufman said extensive heart screenings of young athletes could help in detecting unknown problems before they become serious.
“Recognize that when somebody has a family history of some kind of heart ailment and that’s a good wake up call to talk to their doctor and see if there’s anything they need to be doing to stay healthy in the long run,” she said.
And that’s the mission, making sure young athletes don’t succumb to the unknown.
Davis said, “When I set out to pass Lindsay’s Law, I said this will all be worth it if it just helps one child, and I think it’s definitely surpassed that.”
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