Brevard schools to make CPR graduation requirement

- The Brevard County School Board is expected to pass a new measure this month requiring all students take a course in CPR in order to graduate.

Several instructors in the district took part in a CPR training class of their own this week to prepare to pass the knowledge onto students.

Currently, Florida is one of only 11 states that doesn’t require CPR training in schools at the state level. Representatives with the American Heart Association said the decision is currently made on a district-by-district basis.

In Brevard County the effort to add the lifesaving technique to the course of studies was spearheaded by a Viera family that knows the importance of CPR all too well.

Nearly two years ago, Viera High School student Lexi Sima was running on a treadmill at a local gym when she collapsed out of nowhere. Her family said she unexpectedly suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

"You know, I was running like I have every day that I can remember,” said Lexi who’s a cheerleader and student athlete at Viera, “and I died doing that thing I've done forever."

Lexi’s dad Shawn said she really did technically die in that moment as her heart stopped.

"She was essentially gone before she ever hit the floor,” said Shawn.

Luckily, the family said several by-standers at the gym rushed to action giving Lexi CPR and putting an Auto Defibrillator on her chest. They got her heart restarted before paramedics arrived.

Lexi said she lost about 6 months of memory that day and gained a pace maker in her chest, but she survived and is back to her athletic self today.

However, she and Shawn couldn’t get over the fact that there are so few people without CPR training out there. As Shawn put it, his daughter could have been lying on the floor, heart stopped for several minutes before trained help arrived.

"My daughter was dead, and she got off the ground because people knew how to act and they knew how to act fast,” said Shawn.

So the family’s been working with the American Heart Association and the district to make the change happen.

Jimmy Clarity, a representative for the American Heart Association said the program in Brevard will essentially be paid for in grants and will assure students have hands-only CPR training going out into the real world.

"In only takes 30 minutes of a student's 4-year career to learn hands-only CPR,” said Clarity.

The Sima’s plan to keep pushing for CPR to become a state requirement.

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