OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill making its way through the Oklahoma Legislature could help protect athletes who are injured on the field.
“If it passes, it will really be good. It would put some ease, especially for the parents who can’t go to away games,” said Nancy Randall, mother of Oske Lowe.
Riley’s Rule is a bill aimed at making sure school officials are prepared for the worst – athletes’ injuries at games and practices.
The bill is named after Riley Boatwright. In 2019, Riley went down on the field, suffering a traumatic brain injury. Medical help was not immediate and Riley passed away at a hospital hours later.
“I’m pretty confident that if medical care would have been quicker, then we definitely would have had a better chance,” said Natalie Boatwright, Riley’s sister.
Three years earlier, in 2016, a similar story for Oske Lowe’s family. Lowe excused himself from his Holdenville football game after complaining of a headache; he had suffered a life-changing head injury.
His mom, Nancy Randall, is not sure if the outcome would have been different, but says any additional steps taken could have given her son a chance.
“I want the parents to be aware of what to look for. Make sure to talk to their child. Let them know that they need to speak up or tell someone when something isn’t right or they’re hurting,” Randall said.
Big steps are now being taken by the Oklahoma legislature to protect athletes in the future.
“This is so needed for our children and our safety,” said Senator Brenda Stanley.
Riley’s Rule forces school districts to make a plan, including maps, job assignments, lists of available medical equipment and the location of the nearest defibrillator.
It must be posted on the school website and has to be rehearsed by school officials and coaches before their seasons start.
“You just don’t think anything can happen on the field or on the court that you’re going to lose your child. My heart goes out to all those who have lost theirs,” Randall said.
The bill is expected to pass easily through the House on Thursday, then it would be up to Gov. Kevin Sstitt to sign it into law.