Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 31, 2023

‘Sudden cardiac arrest awareness’ form resulted from 2019 law following student deaths

If Your Time is short

  • This form isn’t new and resulted from a 2019 law to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest after the deaths of two Georgia student-athletes. The form predates the COVID-19 pandemic and is unrelated to COVID-19 vaccines. 

A routine high school form made its way from the bottom of a student’s backpack to social media, and there it’s drawing not parent signatures, but outrage and false claims about COVID-19 vaccines. 

"Passing out Sudden Cardiac Arrest forms at schools is totally normal right?" reads the description above a picture of a "Georgia High School Association Student/Parent Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form." One person sharing it on Instagram wrote: "Why is this happening to our children suddenly? What’s new? #StopTheShots #clotshot #CardiacArrest."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Variations of this claim have appeared on other platforms, such as Twitter, where one tweet said, "Parents are now having to sign a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form. But remember the jab is safe enough to give babies." 

We contacted the Georgia High School Association about the posts but didn’t hear back. The form is on the association’s website; it details early warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest and how to effectively deploy CPR when it occurs. 

Featured Fact-check

The version of the form on the association’s website says it was revised in March 2021. After searching for the form’s title, we turned up other versions of the form with the same information and older revision dates, going back as far as May 2019, months before the first COVID-19 case was identified and more than a year before COVID-19 vaccines became widely available. 

Steve Figueroa, a spokesperson for the Georgia High School Association, told The Associated Press in a Jan. 28 story that the form has been used since the 2019-20 school year in response to a 2019 state law. 

Senate Bill 60, the "Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act," went into effect July 1, 2019. The law required schools to distribute an information sheet to athletes and their parents or guardians that included early warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, how to recognize it and how to do hands-only CPR. Athletes and guardians must sign the form, which is then kept on file at their respective schools. 

The law is named for Nelson, a Georgia middle school student who died after collapsing on the basketball court in 2013, and Blakely, a former high school football player in Georgia who died of sudden cardiac arrest in 2017 after football practice at Stetson University in Florida, WXIA-TV in Atlanta reported

The misleading notion of people "dying suddenly" from the COVID-19 vaccines has been fact-checked by PolitiFact and other newsrooms for many months.

The form currently circulating on social media is not new and predates the COVID-19 pandemic. We rate claims that it’s being used in response to COVID-19 vaccines False. 


Our Sources

Instagram post, Jan. 25, 2023

Tweet, Jan. 26, 2023

11 Alive, ‘Nick dying was not in vain,’ Gwinnett County mother’s work helps get bill passed after son’s death, May 22, 2019

Jefferson City Schools, SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST PREVENTION, visited Jan. 31, 2023

Georgia High School Association, Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (SB60), visited Jan. 31, 2023

Georgia General Assembly, SB 60, effective July 1, 2019

The Associated Press, Georgia school form on sudden cardiac arrest risks isn’t new, Jan. 28, 2023

Peach County Schools form, revised May 2019

Forsyth Central form, revised May 2019

Georgia High School Association, form, revised March 2021 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

‘Sudden cardiac arrest awareness’ form resulted from 2019 law following student deaths

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up