Damar Hamlin incident helps spark interest in CPR

Damar Hamlin's athletic trainers' quick response to saving his life is sparking interest all around for people to learn CPR.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:23 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - It was Monday night when Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin collapsed due to cardiac arrest after making a tackle.

The medical team who responded on the field are now receiving praise for how quickly they reacted, ultimately saving Hamlin’s life.

Dr. Bill Worden is the medical director for Heartland Medical Direction and multiple EMS and EMR agencies around the state of Oklahoma. He said seconds matter when someone suffers cardiac arrest.

“We talk about the chain of survival with CPR, and the sooner that someone a bystander, a medical professional, or anyone is able to start CPR followed by early defibrillation the better the chance of survival and a meaningful survival meaning they recovered neurologically intact much like he has,” Dr. Worden said.

Lawton High School Athletic Director David Stanley says he is always overly prepared for emergencies, and watching what happened to Hamlin made him realize being over-prepared is a good thing.

“You don’t want to get lazy, you want to have everything. I’d rather have everything at the game and not need it and need something at the game and not have it,” Stanley said.

Stanley said most times athletes won’t tell you they are injured or not feeling well, so he’s constantly on the lookout.

“Because when I go to a game I am not just watching to see if we’re going to win. I am looking at injuries I am looking for things that are out of the ordinary. I am looking for a player like an athlete the other day that just collapsed,” Stanley said.

Dr. Worden said people can collapse even off the field, knowing CPR is life-saving. He said it’s not a matter of if you’ll use CPR but a matter of when.

“But again people collapse at church, collapse at the mall, they collapse at the mall at the lake on weekends. So again the more people who are trained in CPR the more likely someone will be able to survive that,” Dr. Worden said.

Several organizations and fire departments across the area offer CPR training.