(NECN: Colleen Bamford) - A young athlete's death is leading to safety changes on the playing field.
Governor Deval Patrick has signed Michael's Bill into law.
It's named after Michael Ellsessar, the Sutton High schooler who died during a football game.
Surrounded by pictures and other reminders of their son, Michael John and Luann Ellsessar of Sutton say he's never far from their thoughts.
Now Michael's legacy will be known in every public school in Massachusetts.
“I think it’s important after everything we've gone through.”
Michael's Law, signed by Governor Patrick this week, is named in memory of Michael Ellsessar. The 16-year-old died suddenly of cardiac arrest during a high school football game in November 2011.
Under the new law, starting this September, every Massachusetts public school must have a written emergency response plan to reduce life threatening emergencies and promote efficient responses if one occurs.
“This will require people to have someone in charge, know what to do and have an AED defibrillator nearby, not locked up in a school somewhere.
The importance of having emergency plans and equipment in place was seen first-hand just one month after Michael's death.
“Tyler Simes was playing hockey and was hit by a puck in the heart, he went in to cardiac arrest, but the people there knew what to do and there was an AED by the ice. He's here today.”
After that, the Simes joined the Ellsessar’s crusade to require provisions at all schools.
State senator Richard Moore and Representative Ryan Fatman took up the cause on Beacon Hill.
Senator Harriette Chandler, chair of the legislature's health care committee, praised its unanimous passage.
“The death is not in vain.”
Michael's Law covers all public schools in Massachusetts but private schools and community sports teams are exempt.
So for the Ellsessar’s, the game continues.
“Now, it’s go time we got the green light and we're going to educate and have plans on how to do that.”