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Mom says Hochul signing law inspired by her son's death 'a weight lifted off my shoulders'

"The legislation is passed, but now the real

"The legislation is passed, but now the real work begins to put it in place before the next school year starts," said Melinda Murray-Nyack, shown here with a portrait of her late son, Dominic Murray, in his bedroom. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Melinda Murray-Nyack felt like she failed her late son each time a bill named after him to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest didn’t reach the governor’s desk.

This year, it did. And Gov. Kathy Hochul signed it into law Monday.

"It didn’t bring him back. But I know it was just a huge step," said Murray-Nyack, 52, of East Elmhurst. "It was a weight that’s lifted off my shoulders because I know I didn’t fail him again, if that makes sense. I just felt I had failed my child. And now we are taking one step further, so he didn’t die in vain."

Her only child, Dominic Murray, a 17-year-old college freshman, had been on the Farmingdale State College campus for just seven weeks when he collapsed and died on Oct. 5, 2009, during a basketball game.

The "Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act" requires the state Education Department to include signs and symptoms of the life-threatening emergency on its website.

Under the new law, which will take effect July 1, 2022, such information will also be included on permission forms that parents must sign before students can participate in interscholastic athletics. The requirement will apply to public and private K-12 schools.

The earliest version of the bill was introduced in the 2013-14 legislative session and re-introduced in following years. The latest bill, sponsored by State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport) and Assemb. Jeffrion Aubry (D-Queens), passed the State Legislature in June.

Hochul’s spokeswoman, Avi Small, wrote in a statement Tuesday that the governor is "grateful to Mr. Murray’s mother" for her advocacy.

"Governor Hochul was honored to sign the Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act, which takes meaningful steps to prevent the sorts of tragedies that took Dominic Murray’s life more than a decade ago," the statement read.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Most people who have the condition die from it — often within minutes. The major risk factor is ischemic heart disease, caused by narrowed heart arteries, though many may not know that they have heart disease until sudden cardiac arrest occurs.

Murray-Nyack said what comes next for her is to see the law implemented.

"The legislation is passed, but now the real work begins to put it in place before the next school year starts," she said.

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