COLUMBUS -- If you want to know the importance of teaching people how to do CPR, just ask Tony Lindeman.
The village councilman from Doylestown in Wayne County may not be here today if not for some quick-thinking folks at a marathon in Akron a couple of years ago.
Summa Health System put together a nice video of the incident (search online for "Tony Lindeman's Story" and you'll find it).
In summary: Lindeman, a self-described "avid runner," was participating in his eighth marathon in September 2012 when he went into cardiac arrest.
A couple of nurses at the scene performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him until other emergency crews arrived and shocked his heart back into action.
He woke up in the hospital and was told he was dead for about 10 minutes. A newspaper headline the next day read, "Marathon runner drops dead, lives to tell about it."
"There was nothing found wrong with my heart," Lindeman wrote me in an email the other day, after I talked to him briefly at the Statehouse a few days earlier. "Since my cardiac arrest I did a lot of research on cardiac arrest. I found that only 8 percent of the people in cardiac arrest survive. I learned that CPR can nearly triple a person's chance to survive cardiac arrest and finally discovered 70 percent of Americans don't know or are uncomfortable performing CPR."
The need for CPR training is part of the reason Lindeman was in Columbus, where a couple of lawmakers introduced legislation to require high schools to offer basic CPR instruction for students.
In fact, Reps. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City, and Tom Letson, D-Warren, want to make the CPR coursework a prerequisite for graduation. Information on first aid, the use of automated external defibrillators and related issues would be covered as part of health classes or other coursework.
Backers say about 16 other state already have comparable requirements in place, and some Ohio schools already are offering CPR classes to their students.
Lindeman is fully supportive of the bill and has taken time to try to convince lawmakers of the need.
"Since I am proof cardiac arrest can happen to anyone I felt everyone should learn the potential life saving skill, CPR," he said, adding, "There was obviously a need to increase the survival rate, we know how to increase the rate, we know cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at anytime, we know CPR increases a persons chance to survive, so why aren't we teaching CPR?"
There hasn't been a lot of coverage of the legislation yet. The bill was announced on a busy legislative day as lawmakers scrambled to finish their work before breaking for their summer recess. A related press conference was not well attended -- I was the only reporter in the room, and I had to run quickly to the next assignment after it was over.
But I would expect to hear more about the proposed law change later this year, after the November election, or perhaps during next year's budget deliberations.
(Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.)