CPR has proven to be crucial in situations such as this. The incident involving Damar Hamlin is raising awareness about the importance of CPR training and knowing how to respond to these types of events.
A frightening and heartbreaking scenario occurred early in Monday night's game between the Bills and the Bengals. Damar Hamlin, a Bills safety, slumped seconds after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins with 5:58 left in the first quarter. He received immediate CPR and medical attention on the field and was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The Bills said in a statement early Tuesday that Hamlin, 24, went into cardiac arrest after the hit and had his heartbeat restored on the field.
Dr. Merije T. Chukumerijie, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills, California, on Tuesday about what could have led to the NFL star's cardiac arrest and what his chances of survival are following the scary incident.
"What we saw was a player who had a direct impact to the middle of his chest, and this is what we consider blunt trauma. And sports is one area that we see that happen often, but we also see it in everyday life," Chukumerije explains. "So, when someone has a sudden impact or blunt trauma to the chest, if it happens at a specific part of the cardiac cycle, then that can lead to a ventricular arrhythmia or an unstable heart arrhythmia, which can ultimately lead to sudden cardiac arrest and unfortunately sudden cardiac death."
While Chukumerije claimed that these types of incidents only have a 15 to 20% survival rate after CPR, the doctor did not disregard the fact that timely CPR and Hamlin's young age helped him survive the trauma.
"The fact that he did subsequently get CPR, and from what we were told, that he had his rhythm restored, that also bodes well for his survival, so when we see these things that happen immediately, that is when we know whether someone is going to have a positive or negative trajectory, and thankfully from what I saw, I am hopeful that he will have a positive trajectory," Chukumerije added.
Damar Hamlin’s agent reported that he opened his eyes 2 days after the incident, was awake, and has been holding hands with family in the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest during Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals
"He has been responsive, which is extremely positive -- neurologically intact, is how the Bills reported it -- and has been gripping the hands of those close to him," Rapoport noted.