On Jan. 2 2023 Monday night NFL game, Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. He is the recent athlete to suffer from a cardiac arrest during a game. Heart problems in professional athletes are uncommon, but can be fatal, and can be caused by many things.
Damar Hamlin, a Buffalo Bills player, was taken to the hospital in critical condition after suffering cardiac arrest on the field. During a Monday night game against the Bengals, the 24-year-old safety slumped following a tackle.
While the specifics of Hamlin's condition are unknown, the occurrence is part of a lengthy history of sportsmen experiencing cardiac problems while competing in sports like football, soccer, and hockey.
Several additional comparable instances, some tragic, have occurred in recent decades.
A sufficiently forceful blow to the chest can also disturb the heartbeat, a condition known as commotio cordis, which is also uncommon but can be caused by an object such as a hockey puck or baseball, or contact with another player.
Currently, almost 9 out of 10 patients who experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die. However, CPR can help boost those chances. CPR can increase or triple a person's chances of survival if performed within the initial few minutes following cardiac arrest.
Below are other professional athletes who suffered cardiac arrest while playing.
During a game against the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes was jogging back to the huddle after a play when he suffered a heart attack in front of more than 50,000 fans. He passed out and never recovered consciousness.
Danish player Christian Eriksen fell on the field during Denmark's opening match against Finland in the 2020 UEFA Euros and was later hospitalized for cardiac arrest.
Medics immediately performed CPR on Eriksen, then 29, who had stopped breathing and had no pulse. Eriksen recovered and was later fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.
Chris Pronger, defenseman of the St. Louis Blues hockey team collapsed on the ice in 1998 after a slap shot to the chest caused an irregular heartbeat. He lost consciousness for roughly 30 seconds, moments before CPR was about to be conducted by medical responders.
The St. Louis Blues experienced a medical scare during a game against the Anaheim Ducks in 2020. After ending his shift on the ice, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slumped over and temporarily lost consciousness while grabbing for a glass of water on the bench.
Bouwmeester, who was 36 at the time, was revived by medical personnel through CPR and hospitalized. He didn't appear to have received any harsh hits or suffered any head injuries before to the incident, and his collapse was initially attributed to a heart attack.
Marc-Vivien Foé, a 28-year-old Cameroonian national soccer team veteran, died while jogging across the field during the second half of a match against Colombia at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.
Foé died after medical personnel attempted to revive him on the sidelines for more than 30 minutes.