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New law in New York aims to improve child safety at summer camps and ballfields



A new New York state law that requires automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be present at youth ballfields and summer camps has been put into effect this month. This decision comes after the tragic death of Lazar LaPenna, who passed away from cardiac arrest two years ago while playing in a Little League game in Point Lookout. The absence of a lifesaving device on the field prompted this change, with the new law mandating an AED unit at every camp, clinic, tournament, game, or practice, along with trained personnel to operate it. This law aims to prevent further tragedies and ensure immediate medical assistance for individuals experiencing cardiac emergencies.

Ross Coleman, president of the Long Island Camps and Private Schools Association, expressed his excitement at the implementation of this law, highlighting the efforts made by the New York State Camp Directors Association to make it a reality. Coleman, who also directs Coleman Country Day Camps in Freeport, emphasized the importance of having multiple AEDs on-site to ensure quick access during emergencies. Parents are encouraged to become trained in performing CPR and operating AEDs, enabling them to act swiftly in critical situations. The tragic loss of Lazar LaPenna has led to a strong advocacy for safety measures on the ballfield, with his father spearheading this initiative in his son’s memory.

Lazar LaPenna’s untimely passing at the age of 10 deeply impacted his family, friends, and community. His father, Gregg LaPenna, who was coaching him during the fatal incident, stressed the necessity of getting certified in CPR and AED usage. He encouraged individuals to take advantage of free training classes available in their area, emphasizing the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Reflecting on his experience, LaPenna shared that coaching again has been part of his healing process, allowing him to channel his grief into a meaningful mission to improve safety standards on the ballfield. The support of Lazar’s former teammates and the community has been a source of strength and motivation for LaPenna in his advocacy for enhanced medical preparedness.

Jennifer McLogan, a seasoned journalist with a remarkable career spanning decades, covered the story of the new law requiring AEDs at youth ballfields and summer camps. Throughout her career, McLogan has demonstrated a commitment to reporting on significant events, including natural disasters, criminal investigations, and sports coverage. Her in-depth reporting on the implementation of life-saving measures at recreational facilities underscores the importance of proactive measures to safeguard the well-being of individuals participating in sports and summer activities. The tragic loss of Lazar LaPenna serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of having accessible medical assistance in place to respond swiftly to cardiac emergencies.

The passing of Lazar LaPenna has led to a meaningful change in New York state legislation, with the implementation of laws requiring AEDs at youth ballfields and summer camps. The advocacy of Gregg LaPenna, along with the support of community members and camp directors, has played a pivotal role in driving these initiatives forward. The tragic incident that claimed Lazar’s life has spurred a collective effort to enhance safety measures and ensure that lifesaving resources are readily available in recreational settings. By raising awareness about the importance of CPR training and AED usage, individuals can empower themselves to respond effectively in emergency situations and potentially save lives. The legacy of Lazar LaPenna lives on through the positive impact of improved safety protocols on the ballfield and beyond.

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