SAN ANTONIO -

Two bills pending in the Legislature would make CPR training a graduation requirement in Texas high schools.

Lisa Cruz, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association that is supporting the legislation, said all high school students would undergo a 30-minute CPR course.

Shelby Walker, one of three Johnson High School sophomores who testified in January on behalf of the legislation, said one the lawmakers told her, “It would be amazing to have an army of lifesavers.”

Walker, as well as Hannah Desmarais and Brittany Mueller, who are on the school’s volleyball team, had shared their story of a life and death encounter at a football game last fall.

The young women said they saw someone who was suffering a diabetic seizure. They already had been trained in CPR as required by NEISD as part of their healthy lifestyles class.

Desmarais said they each played a part, holding back the crowd, getting an automated external defibrillator, and alerting police, while an adult did CPR, something they were prepared to do.

“I never thought I would. It was such a surreal moment,” Desmarais said.

Desmarais said if the bill becomes law, young people will know what to do in similar situations.

“They won’t freak out like most of the people (who) were there that day,” Desmarais said.

Walker said, “You have to have confidence in yourself. I think that’s what the class does is make you comfortable in that situation.”

Mueller said students should consider what if someone in their family needed CPR.

“I hope that somebody could be there to save their life,” Mueller said.

The spokesperson for the American Heart Association, said only 11 per cent of an estimated 380,000 people survive cardiac arrest.

“CPR is one of those things that can double or triple the survival rate,” Cruz said.

Cruz said House Bill  897 is expected out the public education committee today, then is headed to a floor debate, while Senate Bill 261 remains in committee.

Images: Students testify for CPR legislation

Published On: Apr 09 2013 04:25:30 PM CDT

Three Johnson High School sophomores testified in January on behalf of legislation that would make CPR training a graduation requirement in Texas high schools.

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Johnson High School volleyball players along with their coach Nicole Blakeman and the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red Chair and volunteer advocate Carri Baker Wells meet with State Senator Leticia Van De Putte (right) during the Go Red For Women lobby day in January to help advocate for CPR legislation. Courtesy: the American Heart Association.

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.