Bill requiring emergency medical services to be provided at school athletic events, activities signed into Oklahoma law

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Riley Boatwright

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that requires school districts across the state to provide emergency medical services at athletic events and school activities was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The Riley Boatwright Act is in memory of a Lexington middle school athlete who died from injuries suffered in a football game in 2019.

Officials say 13-year-old Riley Boatwright’s life was cut short after a tragic accident while playing the sport he loved.

Family members say he took a hard hit during the first five minutes of the football game.

“By the time the ambulance was aware that we were down and needed help, it was 15 minutes before they got to that field,” Natalie Boatwright, Riley’s sister, said.

Riley died later that night after being taken to a hospital in Purcell. The family said he suffered a traumatic brain injury. 

Senate Bill 1198 directs all Oklahoma school district boards of education to coordinate with emergency medical service providers to develop a plan to provide emergency medical services at athletic events or activities held at school facilities.

The measure requires the plan to be reviewed and updated annually and placed on file with the school district and emergency medical services provider.

“Requiring an emergency medical plan for school athletic events and activities could be the difference between life and death in a serious injury situation,” said Senate author Rob Standridge, R-Norman. “There should never be a question if an ambulance or doctor will make it in time to tend to an injury. This is a commonsense law that has the ability to save lives.”

The bill passed with bipartisan majorities in both the Senate and the House.

State Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, was the House author of the bill.

“Working with Riley’s family to craft this legislation that will hopefully save the lives of other young people was some of the hardest work I’ve had to do since my time in the legislature,” Conley said. “The legislation itself sailed smoothly through the process, and I’m thankful for the support it received from my fellow lawmakers and the governor. But knowing the family’s grief at losing their precious son made this an emotional issue that will long live in my memory.”

School boards must form their emergency plan prior to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

The bill goes into effect on July 1.

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