Now that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has returned to Buffalo and the embrace of his second home with an upgraded medical condition, it may be a good time to reflect on his on-field collapse from cardiac arrest.
Hamlin will continue to recover in Western New York. He was transferred from intensive care at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and flown back to Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute. He was released from the hospital Wednesday and will finish recuperating at home.
The emotional response of his fellow Bills and the opposing team, Cincinnati Bengals, at Paycor Stadium on Jan. 2, was visceral. It did not matter if you were in the stands or watching the nationally televised game at home. You felt the impact of a 24-year-old man undergoing a life-threatening event.
People are also reading…
The game between the Bills and Bengals was eventually and appropriately canceled. What has taken its place is concern and love for the player drafted in 2021. The public response has included homemade signs, jerseys and get-well cards (some supersized) noting the “3” he wears on his uniform. It did not matter if you were a Bills fan, concern for Hamlin has been sincere.
Throughout Hamilin’s ordeal, the Bills and Bengals medical staff have received great praise. If it were not for them and the routine drills conducted for just such an event, the results might have been different. But this is where the second lesson comes into play, one which has sparked a heightened local and national interest in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
As NPR reported, most cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital – more than 350,000 a year in this country. Most studies suggest that no more than 10% of these patients survive until hospital discharge.
Medical experts emphasize that outcome are better for patients who receive a rapid response, as Hamlin did. Trained medical personnel performed CPR on the Bills safety. But how many of us know how to administer CPR? Or, how to use an automated external defibrillator, if one is available? As NPR observed, a 2018 survey by the Cleveland Clinic found that slightly more than half of Americans (54%) reported knowledge of how to perform CPR. Only approximately 11% knew the correct pacing for chest compressions. Moreover, a recent survey published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that only 18% of people are up to date on their CPR training.
Hamlin’s cardiac event occurred on a football field with qualified professionals surrounding him. The rest of us may not be so fortunate, which is why it is important to seek training. Check out the American Heart Association’s CPR & First Aid website at https://cpr.heart.org/en/
The national response to Hamlin’s collapse of outpouring and love is confirmation of caring and support for another human being. It also serves as a reminder for us to take better care of ourselves and each other.
• • •
What’s your opinion? Send it to us at email@example.com. Letters should be a maximum of 300 words and must convey an opinion. The column does not print poetry, announcements of community events or thank you letters. A writer or household may appear only once every 30 days. All letters are subject to fact-checking and editing.