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NFL Safety Damar Hamlin Collapses on the Field: Would You Know What To Do?
By now everyone is aware that during a Monday night football game, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field experiencing cardiac arrest in the middle of a football game. It was a shocking image of a player who tackled the opposing teams ball carrier who stood up for a few seconds then collapsed.
He was immediately attended to by trainers and medical staff, who cut off his uniform and administered CPR for several minutes to restore his heartbeat. He apparently was struck in the middle of the chest while making the tackle and the sudden impact to his chest caused the cardiac arrest. It was a chilling scene causing several players to begin praying and sobbing at the site of Hamlin surrounded by life-saving personnel receiving treatment in the middle of the field.
Reports have said that CPR was administered for some 15 minutes on the field to restore his heartbeat before being transported to Cincinnati University Medical Center by ambulance in critical condition. This raises questions about the length of time his body was without sufficient oxygen. The brain can only survive for about five minutes without oxygen. Everyone is praying for the best outcome.
Now, having said that, he was in the presence of some of the best emergency medical personnel and trainers you can imagine. Highly educated and experienced people were on the sideline there with an ambulance and EMT’s right there. So, you would have to think this horrific event happened under the best of circumstances, with the best chance of recovery. While he is in our prayers, we all wait to see what the outcome will be. He is still in intensive care as of this writing.
What would you do if something similar happened to someone in your presence, maybe a family member or a friend?
Hopefully everyone has basic knowledge of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It’s not that hard to do but you need to do it correctly for best possible results. There are training classes everywhere to learn this potentially life-saving action that almost anyone can do. Check online and at hospitals and community centers near you. CPR basically includes 30 chest compressions and two breaths. Those breaths need to be deep and the compressions need to be fairly powerful. When you breathe into the victim you need to feel the chest of the victim “blow up” kind of like blowing up a balloon.
In an event life what happened to Hamlin, the first thing to do is check for a pulse and determine if the victim is breathing. If they are not, call 911 immediately. Put your cell phone on speaker and begin to administer CPR. If you are not alone, you can team up with others to call 911 and administer CPR and take turns until EMT’s arrive.
If there is an automated external defibrillator (AED) where you are you can easily try to restart someone’s heart. Knowing a little about how a defibrillator works in advance of being faced with a critical emergency is very helpful, so everyone should try to learn how these work in case you are faced with such a situation.
If this happens to you, and it is up to you to take these actions, stay calm and go through the steps you need to. Call 911, begin CPR and check for an AED or have someone else help you. Having been faced with this situation myself, it is a bit of a harrowing experience. Take a deep breath and proceed. What you do will only help the achieve the best outcome so don’t be afraid to try.